Monday, 2 March 2009

Violent prayers, roaring psalms

One of the most interesting things about the so called orthodox black metal is the confusion it caused to the unsuspecting herd. Only natural, considering we are talking about losers that seeked refuge to the sometimes simplistic message that black metal had come to communicate. The usual "fuck god...rape the anus of virgin Mary...etc." themes were substituted by bible quotes. Imagine the shock for the brave black metal warriors that were trained to dismiss anything holy. Having to take under serious consideration religious sources, philosophical texts etc. is really a heavy task for the usual black metal fan. To totally discard theological texts or systems like the bible or cabala would be the easy way. To study them, find and adopt their dark corners would take effort.

For the ones seeking a bit of a challenge and an inspiration to study more and delve into occult and spiritual matters , there was it. It was only time for black metal to change it's weapons of choice, in order to achieve it's goals. After all the experiment that started with the second wave of bm in early 90's, failed miserably.

From the extreme intellectualism of Deathspell Omega to the more straight forward attack of Watain the road is shorter than most could see at first glimpse. Between those two would stand Funeral Mist.


The Swedes are one of the first orthodox black metal bands and for me definitely the best and most characteristic of all. Their lyrics are nowhere near Deathspell Omega's in terms of philosophical or intellectual matters, still they are enough to make the average metalhead feel uncomfortable and inadequate. Musically they approach darkness with a great emphasis to audial violence and even horror. Starting from their demos (Darkness in '95 and Havoc in '96), continuing to '98's Devilry EP reaching to 2003's Salvation magnum opus, one can see a climaxing route towards a creative explosion that happened with the 2003 album. So...what next?
The task to follow an artistic achievement like Salvation with an equally strong work is extremely difficult and possibly unattainable. Funeral Mist was never a band that based their progress to audial innovation or novelty. Their improvement came by the enforcement of their strong assets, the pitch black atmosphere, the violent outbursts, the horror interludes, the religious devotion.
For the new album Funeral Mist dive to their own past to bring on surface the best qualities of Devilry, combined with the fearful atmosphere and vitriol of Salvation and some experimentation with new elements. White stone is Neurosis led to their dark extremes while Blessed curse is a surprise with the hypnotic repeated motive, the theatrical vocal delivery and the introduction of the brass section that works surprisingly well. Funeral Mist has never been strangers to the use of samples and this does not change on Maranatha. The children choir on Living temples is among the sickest moments black metal has to offer. And even the Goran Bregovich (Ederlezi) sample at the end of Antiflesh nimbus seems to be really fitting to a glorious closing of a record that cannot reach the depth of Salvation but is still head and shoulders above competition. As for the true essence of the record, I will have to wait a couple of months and a dozen of more listenings in order to fully comprehend it.
On the other hand it seems that some ideas remain unfinished and are not fully explored leaving a sense of insatiable hunger.
Then again the violence is here (sometimes matching this of Antaeus), the illuminating darkness is here, the incredible vocal manipulations are here, the commitment is here. Zealots like Funeral Mist do not seek followers. They are on a mission and the means they use are above criticism.

And even if they don't seek followers, I still am one. As for the rest, let them be Anathema Maranatha.

...And he hath put a new song
in my mouth, even praise unto
our God: many shall see it, and
fear, and shall trust in the LORD!

Post Scriptum: A few words for the rest (reffered above)

As stated before zealots like Funeral Mist do not seek followers. They are on a mission and the means they use are above criticism. This is the process of revealing the beast within man, therefore it is not offered here for judgement. Especially when the judges are the "grim black metal kiddie warriors of the messageboards", that dare present their opinions (as if anyone cares) as "reviews" of a work of art. What the fuck?... With what musical knowledge? With what historical profficiency as far as bm is concerned? With what knowledge of the spiritual matters that are haddled here? And above all, after how many time of listening to the record? All this from stupid kids, that see music as a computer file and the record we are talking about as Fun3ral_mist-MaraNatha.rar.
Stay away....