After the pointless, yet somewhat mood setting intro, I really wasn’t expecting the first track of “Funeral Mass”, titled “Evil Premonition”, to begin with keyboards. I suppose I was expecting something more along the lines of DARKTHRONE worship from Italy’s FEAR OF ETERNITY, but it’s anything but. No, Andrea Tilenni’s one man band is not the kind of raw, Norwegian inspired Black Metal that Moribund specializes in.
The keyboards are really the prime instrument of focus on “Funeral Mass”, but never in a CRADLE OF FILTH or DIMMU BORGIR sort of way. Instead, the keyboards offer up a very melancholy, depressive atmosphere, which is a perfect fit for the albums title; this is music that would serve very well at a funeral. Every track is slow and brooding, with an introspective feel. The production is still a little raw and dirty, but never in the ‘necro’ sort of way, it’s just simply unpolished.
The songs are all similar in structure, in that the album is not song oriented, but rather mood/atmosphere oriented. Each song carries the same general feeling of helpless/hopelessness that couples perfectly with those times that you simply don’t want to be happy. The only moment on the album that has any uplifting qualities in the circus-like sound of “Outro (Mortuary March)”. Tilenni’s vocals leave something to be desired, as his croak is nearly completely indecipherable and seem to be there, well, just for the sake of being there. Simply put, the music carries the atmosphere and songs entirely on its own, with the vocals not really being necessary.
“Funeral Mass” truly makes me feel like heading out to the woods for the evening, with my headphones on, for some time of lone reflection. Slow-paced, gloomy (almost doomy) Black Metal is not something I’ve ever taken the time to check out, but FEAR OF ETERNITY have done a good job with introducing me to a new genre. And seeing as how “Funeral Mass” is actually a re-release of FEAR OF ETERNITY’s 2001 demo, I look forward to hearing the other albums that came afterward. For that alone I have to recommend “Funeral Mass”.
(Online July 20, 2007)