Funeral Mist – Hekatomb
Nine years is a long time, a lot of things can happen during that period and surely we’ve all seen changes in both ourselves and the world around us in the last nine years that passed, both for good and bad. Nine years ago, in 2009, is when Funeral Mist last released an album, the fan and critic dividing second opus Marantha. Many agree that the first full length (Salvation), and to some degree also the debut EP (Devilry), was black metal milestones and a gateway to what was to become the orthodox and avantgarde black metal that dominated the first decade and then some of the 2000’s. The aforementioned follow up, Marantha, got a more mixed reception, I for one like it, and now it’s finally time for yet another release from Mr. Arioch.
So, what have nine years done for Funeral Mist? I must confess that I was both skeptical and excited over this release, the proclamation of it’s release was merely days before it was out, but my skepticism got totally annihilated by the impact of this album already after a few spins. It seems Arioch uses Funeral Mist as an outlet for all his crazy and outlandish ideas, that he can’t use within the confines of Marduk, in which he’s been handling the vocal duties as Mortuus since 2004. Sure you can hear some similarities between the bands nowadays, but this is a different beast altogether.
There’s true traces of genius in the songs of Hekatomb; the choir-like chanting that turn up here and there, the complex yet simplistically compelling riffs and melodies, the Burzumesque keyboard melody in Cockatrice that gives me a chill down my spine at every listen and Ariochs twisted vocal style that sounds like a madman proclaiming the word of the Devil himself.
The music is both fast and slow, atmospheric and raw and it feels like a more straight forward version of Funeral Mist than previously. Some of the riffing makes me think of Watain or Ascension in their finest moments. There’s definitely still avantgarde and weird passages though, have no fear, although it’s (almost) never weird just for weirdness sake. I don’t get the highly pitched vocals at the end of the closing track, Pallor Mortis, though. The smurf thing isn’t really my cup of darkness so to speak. Overall the compositions aren’t as far out there as, for example Deathspell Omega or Portal, but more direct and memorable in it’s chaos.
Also – very few bands can make you fearful with just their music but Funeral Mist, together with Deathspell Omega, Goblin and a handful others, are definitely on that level. The eeriness is ever-present throughout the album.
Hekatomb as a whole does what I want black metal to do. It stays true to it’s origins and traditions at the same time as it breaks new ground and develop the sound into something unique, while not losing any darkness, atmosphere or focus on good songwriting. I strongly recommend you to get your hands on this album because it’s shaping up to be the most essential black metal release of the year, if not more.
Artist: Funeral Mist
Label: Norma Evangelium Diaboli
Date of release: 2018-06-15
Playing time: 43,05
Stand out track: Cockatrice, that keyboard – wow!