Funerus return some 8 long years after their overlooked and underrated debut “Festering Earth.” With Jill and John McEntee joined by drummer Sam Inzerra from the equally overlooked Morpheus Descends this is some crushing old school death metal.
Stand out tracks include the massive album opener “Behind the Door” with its slow, ominous build up and mid-paced death metal stomp. “The Comfort in Depression” which is a ridiculously heavy song and at the same time has a groove at it’s heart that’s addictive. “Bedpan Commando” which brings Jill McEntee’s bass to the centre of proceedings and has a crushing bottom heavy slow part that breaks up the otherwise up-tempo main riff. The awesome title song, “Reduced to Sludge” with its huge drum sound, thick sludgy guitars and a killer main riff. “Create – Destroy” which again alternates between slow and fast sections to superb effect and album closer “E. Histolytica” which brings the album to an end on a particularly powerful note with Inzerra’s drumming being a real stand out.
The basic idea behind Funerus is simple enough. Old school death metal somewhere between Asphyx and Autopsy with Jill & John sharing vocal duties and the songs alternating between mid paced doomy passages and raw blistering speed. There’s no musical link to Incantation here at all apart from the presence of McEntee and he sounds more like Martin van Drunen than his usual acidic self. John McEntee’s guitar tone is fat, thick, sludgy and supremely heavy. It’s pretty much what made this album for me. Jill McEntee’s bass playing is more often than not content to follow the guitar but this adds to the overall heaviness and thick dark atmosphere of the songs. Sam Inzerra gives a lesson in old school death metal drumming, occasionally almost purposefully sloppy and underplaying to a large degree he’s also helped by a great drum sound. Dan Swanö mixed and mastered this brute of an album and I’d say he’s done a pretty terrific job.
In a year that’s had its fair share of new old school death metal bands putting out killer albums and older slightly more obscure bands making strong comebacks, Funerus has managed to release an album that stands on its own. Powerful and catchy death metal that combines the band’s past with the present and does it in a way that’s quite impressive.