Funeral Fornication - _Solitude and Suicide_
(Hypnotic Dirge Records, 2009)
by: Yulon Zhu (5 out of 10)
Canada's femme fatale led Artep have gained a considerable following, igniting the flames spewing from their mouths to grow bigger and brighter. Vultyrous' (the main vocalist / guitarist for Artep) band Funeral Fornication has also met with a mound of attention, probably from Artep fans curious to hear what else Vultyrous is capable of. Being involved with an amalgam of projects deviating from the symphonic black metal of Artep with the technical death spew of Gremory, the harsh vocalized power metal band Seasons of Sorrow and "gothic metal / doom rock" band Lashing Ether, Vultyrous can add one more section of metal to his lexicon: depressive black metal.

"Mother of Peril" starts off very fast, contrary to most of the slow moving music of much DBM / SBM, especially of the typical Canadian method. A malign backdrop and menacing riffs make this track the best yet, but things go downhill after follower "The Weeping Tree", which provides a haunted house atmosphere using synthesizers. Vultyrous' vocals are distressing enough to fit within the style, and the music is certainly cold and dark. Though despite the heavy atmospheres, mournful moods and depressing song titles like "You Must Admit, the Sun Is Dying" and "Never Let a Flower Adorn My Grave", Funeral Fornication has a long journey ahead to find the right cyanide laced formula to becoming a DBM paragon. The lack isn't surprising considering this is basically a debut (though Funeral Fornication's third official full-length) due to _Solitude and Suicide_ being a catalyst for FF's road down DBM.

Depressive black metal is a rapidly spreading outbreak with many bands having perfected this sublime genre, dealing out razor-edged music that enters listeners into hours of comatose-like states. If you're searching for the very best in Canadian depression, bands like Forteresse, Gris and Monarque are worthier countrymen. If it weren't for the inhuman quality to the record from the drum-machine, _Solitude and Suicide_ would bring a larger audience to psychotic tears. Machines are voids that can't be filled with emotion, so they aren't good for this type of music. Consistent is generally a good thing, like when a band never fails to release a jaw-dropping album. While Funeral Fornication's consistency does lie in their music, it's found in the basic, rarely changing structure to the tracks, creating a one-dimensional sound to a genre of black metal that is known for its deepness and multi-dimensional form. There is a multitude of fascinating parts to be found on _Solitude and Suicide_, but they must be found sifting through the rest of the repetitive, lacking pieces. The end of "Channeling Volatile Energy" featured impressive guitars that shone in the album as did "Beauty Is Derelict in My Eyes," so Funeral Fornication may evolve into something with more tenor with future releases.

(article published 4/11/2009)

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