FUNERAL — Tristesse (review)

FUNERAL — Tristesse album cover Album · 1994 · Funeral Doom Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
As influential they were to the funeral doom metal genre, Norway's Funeral haven't totally gotten the respect they wholly deserve. Any of the attention and praise that could have gone to Funeral's debut 'Tristesse' instead went to Skepticism's 'Stormcrowfleet' or Esoteric's 'Epistemological Despondency', both amazing albums in their own right. But no, I am here to shine the spotlight on Funeral.

We start off with "Thoughts of Tranquility". The first minute or so is taken up by mournful sounding acoustic guitar, a perfect mood setter for a funeral doom album. Within this song, we have the typical early funeral doom atmosphere and tone. Production is raw but now too raw. There are clear points of the song where the change in the riff occurs, which is good to know so you don't think of it getting too monotonous. Another interesting attribute I've noticed is the layering of the death growls with cleaner sounding vocals. This is somewhat of a precursor to Funeral's gothic phase they're involved in now, but it's appeal that helps Funeral set themselves apart from Skepticism and Esoteric even more.

Next comes "A Poem for the Dead". Another acoustic guitar intro present, but this one only goes on for about 30 seconds. The other eighteen minutes is funeral doom sorrow. Though initially slow as usual, the song does vary by breaking into a faster chugging at the 1:25 mark, then returns to slowness about thirty seconds later. The song varies again with the double bass drums pounding at 2:32 with the guitars still playing long chords. This double bass rhythm reappears at 4:43. The rhythm goes on for 45 seconds until the break signals a speed up to chugs on the rhythm guitar as well as a well placed guitar solo. There are more timing variations present after a prolonged period of crushing funeral doom atmosphere. Another cool guitar solo comes in at 13:07, but then that fades out to an acoustic guitar passage before finishing the funeral doom trip. This single song was an amazing presentation of funeral doom metal.

Last song is "Yearning for Heaven". No acoustic guitar to start this song off. Instead, there's a slow bass rhythm before shortly cutting to the actual funeral doom riffing. Though the riffs clearly change in the song, there are otherwise no outstanding variations in terms of timing changes. There is a guitar solo in the later end of the 7 minute mark. Oh wait! They stuck the acoustic guitar in the outro. Nicely solemn way to end this album.

I actually credit this album for making me truly understand the funeral doom metal genre. I've listened to Skepticism's 'Stormcrowfleet' before listening to this and didn't think too much of it because of the lack of clean production. Then I listened to 'Tristesse' and found it mind-blowing. On my return listen to 'Stormcrowfleet', I totally loved it. 'Tristesse' may also be the most ideal path for outsiders of funeral doom metal to get in due to it being about 40 minutes with three songs, shorter than most funeral doom albums. Well done, Funeral!
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Wilytank wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Thanx. I wanted to try to write some good reviews for something besides black metal releases. I decided on funeral doom metal and thought that this one would be the easiest as it is the shortest one I know of that sub genre and thus would be a great starting place. And like I said, besides Funeral, there's also Esoteric and Skepticism. I'm planning hitting up both of those bands too, but Esoteric's two disc albums are going to take a lot of time.
UMUR wrote:
more than 2 years ago
...oh and great review BTW.
UMUR wrote:
more than 2 years ago
I had no idea that funeral doom albums were already being released by the early nineties. I guess I still have a lot to learn about some sub genres.

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