Funeral doom. It could be a black metal album title, but as most Archaic Triad readers probably know it is in fact a genre, and Russian Funeral Tears plays it. What is on offering is down-tuned guitars, slow to mid paced drumming and funereal and somewhat repetitive riffing and melodies. While no-one is re-inventing the genre on this album, there is one thing that funeral doom has in common with harsh noise wall and some types of 90’s style black metal: if it is done right, it is always good. Originality doesn’t really enter into the equation.
So, there is little new-antibiotics level innovation to be found here, but Funeral Tears certainly has his own interpretation of what funeral doom should sound like. Having been at it for seven years now, sole member Nikolay Seredov knows his craft. Skepticism and Esoteric could of course be mentioned, but the most obvious comparison would be the short-lived and very underappreciated British doom/death band Chorus of Ruin. The deep vocals, as well as many of the softer passages, are sometimes eerily similar to the first two albums/masterpieces from Theater of Tragedy, though the selection of instruments here is more traditionally metal. Early Katatonia may not be an influence, but there are some clear similarities in the most common tempos and melodies employed.
The track listing is suitably somber and cryptic, with titles such as “Close My Eyes” and “Dehiscing Emptiness” (JFGI, you pleb). It all fits very well together with the mournful, slow-moving and heavy doom-o-rama that keeps going pretty much throughout. This is a very different beast from the stoner and psychedelic doom that has gained such popularity here and there – Funeral Tears are far closer to inner circle metal genres like death and black metal in its stylistic purity. Even so, there is the odd nod to more experimental elements, especially in percussion-free intermezzos and intros, during which the mood at times becomes almost progressive. Other unexpected elements are sudden, Cradle of Filth-like screams in tracks like “Breathe”, and the use of a single, high-pitched guitar tone to approximate the rhythmic beeping of an ECG monitor in “Eternal Tranquility”.
If you need your monthly dose of doom, and you want it free from explicit wacky tobacky references, but full of Russian agony and slightly British stiff-upper-lip mournfulness, Funeral Tears is your best bet so far in 2017. Heavy, melancholic and strengthened by the excellent growls, Beyond the Horizon does everything exactly right. To get your weekend on, all you need is a glass, a couple of bottles of red, some candles, and a deep resentment towards life. And of course you also need this album, which is available from the label Satanath’s homepage or Bandcamp.