Funeral in Heaven - _Janani Janmabhumisca Svargadapi Gariyasi_
by: Daniel Cairns (3.5 out of 5)
Brilliant. My first review and I have to spell "Janani Janmabhumisca Svargadapi Gariyasi" out as the title. Thanks, Funeral in Heaven. I'd be pissed if I wasn't impressed by the kvlt menace on display.

Funeral in Heaven hail from Sri Lanka of all places. Yeah I know, it's not the most obvious place to find a black metal band, but Funeral in Heaven make a convincingly excellent old school-enthused noise. Hailing the likes of Venom, Mayhem, Black Sabbath and Celtic Frost as influences, the band have a pretty good grasp on what makes their influences tick, and manage to replicate without stealing wholesale.

Beginning its nine minutes with the sounds of battle, the song (there's no way I'm spelling it out again) launches into an abrasive, melodic cantering riff whilst vocalist Chathuranga screeches like a loon. So far, so grim. But things get interesting with a clean melodic break in the middle that's somewhat reminiscent of Southern sludge monsters Rwake (a good thing indeed). Throughout we're treated to atmospheric sound effects, like rain falling, wind howling and crows, erm... crowing. Overall it's a pretty impressive blackened progressive sound they have going. We're not talking Deathspell Omega style prog-savagery, but it's a potent effort nonetheless.

Of considerable interest is their lyrical content. Whilst other black metal bands hail the Dark Lord, Funeral in Heaven prefer to look to their own country for inspiration. The band describe themselves as "Hela Black Metal", hela being a reference to the prehistoric name for Sri Lanka. The song itself (according to the notes sent with the demo) is inspired by the "Vijitha Pura Satana" (an ancient Sri Lankan war) and dedicated to the ten greatest warriors in Sri Lankan history. Well, it makes a change from punching Christians, doesn't

Production wise, the song has a pleasingly raw atmosphere. The bass guitar is pretty quiet though, leaving the whole thing sounding a little tinny. I don't know if they've picked on the bassist Jason Newsted-style, but the tune loses some of the meatiness it could have. However, it doesn't detract from the song's intent, which first and foremost is to be epic and grim. And it succeeds pretty well, to my ears at least.

Kudos should also go to the band for providing your humble reviewer with an extensive historical context for the song and its lyrics. I'll now be able to impress some impressionable young lady with knowledge about ancient Sri Lankan history, which will doubtless lead to unspeakable, carnal acts. So for that at least, Funeral in Heaven deserve a horns up (no pun intended).


(article published 23/1/2009)

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