Band: Funeral Winds
Label: Osmose Productions
Release date: 26 January 2024
Format reviewed: High-quality digital recording
Funeral Winds is a black metal band emerging from the Netherlands, with their album 333 soon to be out to the public on January 26th. What seemed that it would be a good dose of raw black metal standout turned out to be a rather underwhelming record by the band. It is not by any means a burden to listen to, it is actually on the easy side despite the raw approach to almost every aspect of it, but it ends up sounding slightly flat and almost generic. It has a tendency to fall under the radar, remaining just another one of “those” albums that hang on the edge between good and “meh”. It is mostly stripped away of song complexity, although there is tempo variation present at times. This, along with the overall sound of it, makes it harder to appreciate, especially at a first listen. However, although the situation may seem dire, I recommend giving 333 a second listen, as it may shift the view on the record more than a little.
When analyzing the instrumentals of this record, there are a few things that need to be taken into consideration, the first one being the fact that the drums are barely audible, being completely washed out by the guitars and production to the point where is sounds as if the drums are not even there, except for certain moments ( drum fills and the occasion tempo changes), especially on the first track. There is a small improvement on the second track, which is one of the better songs on the album, being overall better defined and sounding more put together. If I am being honest, a more in focus approach to the drums would have been really beneficial for this record, adding slightly more depth to the sound, without taking away from the intended sharpness of the sound.
Perhaps the best aspect of this record is the sound and overall guitar work. It might be easy to miss at first, but the riffing on this album is really great and elevates the album a lot higher for me compared to the other elements present throughout the overall composition. It is also surprisingly complex, at least by raw black metal standards, and they are tinged with a tiny bit of melody at parts, a quirk that makes them particularly catchy. Something like this can be noticed in the second song Cast the Gauntlet of Doom one of the slower songs on the album. Something that I found bizarre when listening to 333 is how much better the slow songs are compared to the more high-paced ones, the reason being that they capture the intended atmosphere much better than the others, and they also do better justice to the band’s songwriting abilities. They also take the focus away from the more noticeable flaws of the album, offering a much better listening experience.
The vocal performance is what I would call a rather sensitive topic in the context of the given record. It is definitely unusual for this style of music, shifting from any sort of black metal vocal pattern to a whispery, eerie technique that I don’t think I have ever heard on another record. This can be viewed from two completely opposing perspectives. To put it one way, I appreciate the use of this kind of vocals, and it surely gives the music an almost claustrophobic, chilling atmosphere. However, as the album progresses, it becomes irritating, and I dare say annoying at times. It doesn’t fit well in all the songs, most importantly on the high-paced ones, almost like it’s trying to hold back the extremity, which is also reduced by the barely audible drums.
In the end, this album is for sure no classic or masterpiece or even a standout. However, I believe that, if you’re a black metal enthusiast, you may want to check it out. 6.5/10 Ioana
6.5/10 We may survive!
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