Friday, December 7, 2012
Faustcoven: Hellfire and Funeral Bells
This came recommended by my friend in metal Grim Kim, and I can see why this was her album of the year. This project of Gunnar hansen and no not the Hanson brother of the same name this one is Norweigan, has been churning it out for almost eleven years now. It's a good blend of doom and black metal, which in some sense is what the whole suicidal black metal is about sonically, though this is less cavernous and not about slitting your wrists but the sort of unholiness you would expect froma band called Faustcoven.
The production is raw and gritty , with the live drum sound still being mixed the same way is if Hansen was still programming them like he was six years ago. The songs take precedence over the production which...random thought number 293, makes me think this type of raw black metal would sound great on vinyl, not that I have owned a record player in the past fifteen years.
There some smart songwriting on here like right when the riffing felt like it was getting stale on "When the wolves howl for blood." they switch it up with a acoustic passage,but up until that sound the album held me for the first three pretty solidly and this was an album I woke up wanting to hear this morning so that's a good sign. So now to put it under the microscope and see song for song how it holds up.
The title track this album opens with is pretty strong, though after the bells when this thing kicks in the production was hit me first then when the vocals came in and I got over that I found myself more receptive, if you like your metal raw then this shouldn't phase you. The growls come in a little muffled and feel kinda Darkthroneish with the riffing leaning closer to a darker less bluesy St. Vitus. The accents jump out in the right places and the gallop comes in just right as well. I like the faccthe bass is not only present but is well thought out on its own accord not just following the kick.
"Convent of Earthly delights" kicks in with a "Hole in the sky" type groove before it descends into the doom. The howling sounds in The distance add to the ambiance of the transition and the vocals take on a deeper more death metal tone in parts, I like the delay on them I always prefer a wetter sound to growling. This vibe fittingly transitions into " lost in the forest of suicide " so I lied about the wrist slitting thing, but that's fine with me as I endorse it as a life choice you gotta thin the herd somehow. Do I think there are other bands that do what is being attempted on this song better, yes...but Hansen is taking an admirable stab at it. It does provide more dynamics to the album as a whole, though not the strongest song on here, the creep factor could be pumped up but I'm used to listening to Evoken and Esoteric when it comes to this sort of thing.
"When the Wolves Howl For Blood" sounds more death metal to my ears, the verse riff sounds like something from an old Unleashed album and despite the reverb on the vocals at the chorus it still sounds like less dense Disma, though a little more midpaced.
Writing for a horror blog as well of course I know "Dr. Karswell" is from the movie "Night of the Demon" this is one of the albums better songs the samples give the song interesting interludes and the riff is pretty crushing as well. More on their doom side, which I think is is more doomy death metal than black Becuase the album doesn't really have the ugly dissonance in the chording which creates ambiance, this doesn't diminish the guitar playing , as there are actual solos and the riffing is simple but at times very powerful.
The opening to "Choir of Mentors" has a very haunting lurch to it. At ten minutes it has a few twists and turns there's a very seventies hard rock riff that's cool but this awkward chromatic one that kind of blunders up the flow for me. But overall this is good stuff and worth checking out not record of the year or even making my top ten buts worthwhile listen even with the some times unwieldy riffs or lags which is why it gets at 7.5 from me which is stil nothing to be ashamed of on here.