The Czech one-man project MISTRESS OF THE DEAD first caught my attention through a split released with FUNERAL OF MY SOUL, which is a side-project of the brilliant TRIST. Being impressed with what I heard from this obscure but prolific (18 releases in 4 years) Funeral Doom act, I jumped on the opportunity when a promo of his new album, "White Roses, White Coffin", rose from the Metal Observer crypt.
With four songs spanning between 13 and 23 minutes in length, it shouldn't really come as a surprise to anyone that this is droning music played at a crawling pace, bearing an overwhelmingly heavy load of sadness and melancholy. Since the sole member Vlad has to do everything himself, there is no room for fluff like violins or female vocals, only despair in its purest form emancipates from his cold coffin. You could argue that the crushing pace of Funeral Doom demands zero musical ability, but it's hard to deny that not everyone can create an all-consuming void to suck you in for well over an hour for every listen.
In addition to the deafening sorrowful chords, a heavy layer of dark ambiance adds to the palette of greys, while the vocals are distant wails, almost ghostly in their lamentation. The production, while not reaching the high quality of more high-profile groups like SHAPE OF DESPAIR, is still surprisingly clean for such an obscure artist, which works in favor of the heavy atmosphere. It's not as humongous as the latest ESOTERIC album, but for a one-man project this is an outstanding display of Funeral Doom done right.
(Online March 6, 2009)