Funeral Doom Metal

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Funeral doom is a sub-genre of doom metal which has many of the hallmarks of more traditional doom, e.g. low tuned guitar work creating an extremely heavy sound and slow tempos. The tempos in funeral doom are generally even slower and often likened to and give the impression of a funeral dirge. It contains death doom elements and often shares the growl style vocal work of that sub-genre as well as cleaner mournful vocals. The use of keyboards is common, generally used to create atmospheric ambient passages. Bands such as Sketicism, Thergothon, Esoteric and Evoken are considered pioneers of the genre in the early nineties.

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EVOKEN Embrace The Emptiness Album Cover Embrace The Emptiness
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4.48 | 5 ratings
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ESOTERIC The Pernicious Enigma Album Cover The Pernicious Enigma
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ESOTERIC The Maniacal Vale Album Cover The Maniacal Vale
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ESOTERIC Epistemological Despondency Album Cover Epistemological Despondency
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ESOTERIC Metamorphogenesis Album Cover Metamorphogenesis
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MONOLITHE Monolithe I Album Cover Monolithe I
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SHAPE OF DESPAIR Shades of... Album Cover Shades of...
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EVOKEN A Caress Of The Void Album Cover A Caress Of The Void
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COLOSSEUM Chapter 1: Delerium Album Cover Chapter 1: Delerium
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TYRANNY Tides of Awakening Album Cover Tides of Awakening
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funeral doom metal Music Reviews

MORDOR Odes

Demo · 1991 · Funeral Doom Metal
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siLLy puPPy
With a name like MORDOR which depicts the fiery aftermath of volcanic eruptions and steaming pits of lava rendering nothing conducive to lifeforms, it’s no wonder that well over a dozen metal bands from around the world have claimed this band name as their own. However only one of these bands can lay claims to being the first to create a hybrid of musical forms that would later be considered by many to be the first example of what would later be tagged funeral doom metal. This MORDOR arose in Lausanne, Switzerland out of the ashes of the black metal band Ärog which existed from 1987-90 never having released a single piece of their work. After a falling out with the drummer, the remaining duo of Dam Gomhory (vocals, keyboards, drum programming) and Scorh Anyroth (vocals, guitars, effects) set out to create some of the most despondent and depressive music ever recorded.

MORDOR released only two demos, ODES in 1991 and “Csejthe” in 1992 and then both together as a compilation shortly thereafter with one two-track EP emerging two years later. While these demos were released originally on cassette, like many underground artists of the era they would eventually find their way onto CD releases with bonus tracks. While emerging more out of the black metal lineage of the underground scene rather than doom metal itself, MORDOR nonetheless found the perfect marriage of the doom laden depressive atmosphere which took the snail-paced tempos to new extremes. Those attributes coupled with the droning chord distortions that reverberate to infinity and despairing tortured vocalized agony ensured only the most hopeless and nightmarish of sonicscapes to be experienced at the time.

ODES was only a demo but still clocks in just a couple minutes or so shy of the hour mark with only three tracks. The first and last clock in at over the 20 minute mark with the middle just shy of a mere ten. Although ODES qualifies as funeral doom metal with its dirge-like dissonance and nonchalant percussive march into oblivion, the elements of drone metal were hot on the heels of Earth were also on full display however the vocals are more of the black metal ilk sounding something like Mayhem on valium at times. The atmospheric dark ambience also brings Burzum’s later work to mind but these three tracks are far more devastating to the human psyche than anything Varg Vikernes could ever conjure up.

The three tracks have distinct flavors despite creeping out of the digestive pits of dismay, despair and utter mortification. “Dark Throne Of Blasphemous Evil” lives up to its title with punishing undulations of creepy dark synthesized terror in sync with lo-fi down tuned distortion doggedly eking out every possible second of sustainability. Moans of anguish beset the psyche while dirging drumbeats intersperse the dread while sonic frequencies add syrupy slow musical scales that seduce the spirits to commit vile and repugnant acts of horror. “The Great Kat Is God” shockingly begins as a Mozart piece and then finds the melody snuffed out by an oscillating synth and slightly more upbeat percussion. The vocals are more sung on this one but just as tortured and demented. This one has a slight guitar riff that recurs. “Lamentations For Corinne” provide a funeral organ riff as the marching drumbeat slowly ascends from the underworld. A guitar lick slowly ratchets up the tension, first with a melody and then into utter chaos while dungeon synth keyboard dirges emerge from nowhere and then fall into oblivion. At over 25 minutes in length the track builds up to the emotional breaking point.

Recommended for those who love to investigate the origins of the funeral doom metal sound and who crave the lo-fi errancy of the metal underground. The tortured soundscapes evoke the most inhospitable lower strata of the metal universe where melody is twisted and tortured into obsequious slaves to uphold the tyranny of torment and to crucify and extinguish all hope. The atmospheric black metal aspects are far superior to the likes of Burzum or wannabe followers. MORDOR successfully interpreted the fiery hellish landscapes of the J.R.R.. Tolkien universe into nail biting sonic reality. While funeral doom metal, atmospheric black metal and drone metal would quickly all splinter off into their own self-regulated subgenera within the greater metal universe, MORDOR display on this early demo the crossroads where they once all gathered together with the same goal of creating the utmost minimalistic melancholy that the world would most like never even hear. Scary stuff this one.

ESOTERIC Epistemological Despondency

Album · 1994 · Funeral Doom Metal
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siLLy puPPy
SURREAL METAL 101

There were some bands that jumped on the bandwagon of a certain trend and ran away with it and then there are those that knew exactly what they wanted from very start. Birmingham, England’s ESOTERIC are amongst the latter as they quickly distinguished themselves from the ever expanding doom metal universe into the extreme melancholy of the early funeral doom metal world. Along with early pioneers Thergothan, Skepticism, Funeral and Mournful Congregation, ESOTERIC excelled in the total submersion into the ultimate depressive atmospheric snail-paced dirge metal that ceased to exist in the physical world and opted to sublimate into a more hallucinogenic state of mind where echoey power chords take on droning characteristic accompanied by ethereal and wickedly depressive ambience to create some of the most surreal metal ever to exist.

ESOTERIC meant business as their career began and has revolved around slow and doom-laden metal that takes its sweet time to unfold its freeze-dried fury around you only to captivate your soul and entrancify your spirit into a phantasmic surrender of the will. Even with the demo “Esoteric Emotions - The Death Of Ignorance” the Birmingham band was all about sustaining a depressive atmosphere for over an hour. The demo clocked in at an astounding 82 minutes and was the prognosticator of entire career as every ESOTERIC album since has been a double CD fortified with endless drifting action of depressive doom metal action that is the equivalent to a sonic Salvador Dalí copulating with the early potentials of Black Sabbath and the countless emulators that emerged in their wake.

EPISTEMOLOGICAL DESPONDENCY is the debut album of ESOTERIC which appeared after their demo tape made a huge impression on the personal at Aesthetic Death Records who realized quite quickly that they had a rather unique musical entity on their radar. After all the legalities ensued, ESOTERIC recorded their debut album and set out to create one of the weirdest and most demanding albums of the mid-90s. While based in the world of doom metal mostly due to their molasses flowing guitar riffs and distortion to forever techniques, ESOTERIC is somewhat of a hybrid between the early 90s doom metal of Skepticism, Evoken and Pantheist cross-pollinating with some sort of sluggish ambient electronic band such as Coil with valium-esque synthesizer laden keyboard riffs that take the term “downers” to a whole new level.

ESOTERIC has been quite exemplary in their ability to tweak their sound ever-so-slightly on album after album but they proved themselves worthy quite well even on this gem of a debut that not only immediately separates them from the pack of death doom and funeral doom progenerators but also displays an emotional depth of character that few were capable of experiencing during the day of production. EPISTEMOLOGICAL DESPONDENCY is like no other of the day. This album is literally capable of causing extreme depression and suicidal thoughts much like legal drugs that have been promoted since. Personally i have no need for such chemical mind inducing intruders when such sonic therapy such as this exists. Literally nothing else before or since can compare to ESOTERIC’s bizarre and surreal take on doom metal and this debut is the perfect introduction to the phantasmagoric sonic reality of this strange band. ESOTERIC is one of my all time favorite bands and this debut reminds me why that is so time and time again. Do start here!

EVOKEN Embrace The Emptiness

Album · 1998 · Funeral Doom Metal
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Warthur
Standing athwart the thin borderline between death-doom metal and funeral doom, what Evoken offer up on Embrace the Emptiness combines the glacial pace and sombre tone of funeral doom combined with the gutteral malevolence of death-doom. The sophistication offered by Dario Derna's keyboard work and Charles Lamb's maudlin cello sits next to and adds texture to the slow, bloody dissection Nick Orlando engages in with his guitar solos. The pace is a bit more varied than some funeral doom releases, which will help those less familiar with the genre get into it, but it's never too fast for long - like a momentary twitch of life in a dying body.

ESOTERIC The Maniacal Vale

Album · 2008 · Funeral Doom Metal
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mlkpad14
Brilliant!

I'm a little bit of a newbie to doom metal, but so far I love the thirty or so albums I've listened to... And this is the best one!

Each piece flows beginning to end and into the next. The atmosphere this album explores is crafted in the most beautiful way, and the layering adds so much to the pieces. The heaviness is so heavy it's awesome!

I can't wait to hear the rest of this band's work, but I doubt it'll be as good as this... Honestly, I'm just baffled by this masterpiece!

To conclude, I really liked this album - everything about it!

ESOTERIC Subconscious Dissolution Into The Continuum

Album · 2004 · Funeral Doom Metal
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Warthur
Subconscious Dissolution Into the Continuum is a case of evolution rather than revolution; it essentially finds Esoteric working their way further down the cleaner-sounding and more experimental trajectory that had started with Metamorphogenesis. Like that album, it's somewhat shorter than the epic slabs of funeral doom we've learned to expect from Esoteric, and that works to its favour, allowing them to tinker with an unusually subdued atmosphere for them without the album outlasting its welcome in the way it might if it had been padded out to the double CD length of some of their more epic works. The end result is another solid release.

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