The subgenre funeral metal was once pioneered by a Swedish band – Katanonia’s 1993 album Dance of December Souls went slow, melodic and tragic when many others were busy with the brutal and aggressive. Since then, the genre has undergone many changes, the most notable of which is its successful marriage to doom metal and the subsequent birth of funeral doom. This is the genre of choice for another Swedish band, Suffer Yourself. Their second album Ectoplasm was released on CD in November last year, and is now due for a vinyl DLP release any day. Originally a solo project based in Poland, Suffer Yourself is now a quartet which unleashes its slow, sad and heavy music upon the world from Linköping in Sweden.
The style is, overall, what might be expected. There’s a heavy flavor of Corrupted and early Esoteric – painfully slow drum work, heavy and distorted guitars, coupled with less distorted melodic string work and sparse but well executed synthesizers. Additionally, there are more than a few ambient, darkly atmospheric sections. At times things speed up somewhat, but that is rare – this is not an album for fast headbanging. The vocals switch between deep, very deep, growls and higher pitched screams.
The whole album consists of only five tracks, but has a playtime of more than an hour. The tempo variations, ambient interludes and efficient atmosphere building all serve to eliminate any risk of boredom, even as the track length of “Dead Visions” approaches 20 minutes. For fans of sludgy funeral doom metal, Suffer Yourself is pretty much the way to go.
Like many albums these days, Ectoplasm is published by a bewildering cabal of labels. The jewel-case CD is done by Satanath Records in collaboration with More Hate Productions, whereas the digipak and cassette versions are out through distributor Cimmerian Shade Recordings, who will also do the double vinyl version (exact date TBA). Most versions, including various bundles, are available form the band’s bandcamp page. If you are up for some doomy funeral doom, you should not hesitate.