Funeral - _To Mourn Is a Virtue_
(Solitude Productions, 2011)
by: Chaim Drishner (8.5 out of 10)
"The First Mourning" ("Premier Deuil", in French), the beautiful and slightly sinister oil on canvas painting created in 1888 by the neoclassical realistic painter William-Adolphe Bouguereau greets the listener with its striking beauty and rare aesthetics. The painting depicts the sorrowful moment upon which Adam and Eve find the body of their son Abel, having been murdered by his brother Cain. The genuine pain this picture emanates is remarkable, mostly due to the fact the artist had lost his own son shortly before painting his homage to death and loss.

_To Mourn Is a Virtue_ is well worth it for the cover art alone, not to mention the added value of this recording's fine music: this is quality, no matter how you look at it. This album, although not portraying any new material Funeral have recorded, is a great opportunity to listen to the band's rare and obscure material, having been recorded sometime between 1995 and 2002.

This is complete, mature and melancholic material, and other than being recently remastered, it was not tampered with, mirroring the band's state of mind and artistic capabilities some fifteen years ago. It needs no additives nor reduction from what it is, as is; and this music is as relevant today as it had been a decade and a half ago.

This doom beauty is rewarding in many ways: the fine clean vocals of both male singers are rare in the metal world; they deliver their dirges in a way this reviewer was not expecting; their velvety, warm tone, having a measurable streak of utter sadness, pierces the listener like 12 inch acupuncture needles. You may expect some growls, but they never appear, and frankly, the band have made the right choice of incorporating only clear vocals; they lend the overall music a much darker tone than what could have ever been accomplished by the familiar growls that are more often than not a characteristic quality of the funeral doom sub genre.

Add to this the remarkably beautiful female vocals on the closing track, and you have a treat of emotions, melancholy, celestial beauty and otherworldly sadness, all tied tightly together and immaculately delivered for almost 70 minutes -- the best 70 minutes you can spend nowadays, music-wise.

The tunes are well-crafted, basic melodic doom metal that is slow and mournful with the habitual riffs and familiar arrangements, but in the end it's the vocals that really do the trick here and boost the music, sending it into the realms of the astral and the Stygian.

If you have enjoyed Godsend's 1993 timeless album _As the Shadows Fall_, its spirit, its qualities, the atmosphere it creates and mainly Dan Swano's unforgettable vocal performance, you will most likely immensely enjoy this accurately executed, elegantly written, beautifully arranged recording by Funeral.

Yet another great release by Solitude Productions which enables you to explore quality musical material that would have been otherwise sadly and criminally forgotten. _To Mourn Is a Virtue_ will haunt your dreams; its essence will linger on long after the music will have stopped...

Highly recommended!


(article published 15/1/2012)

2/4/1997 P Azevedo 6 Funeral - Tragedies
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