From Funeral Skies (Re-Release)
posted on 4/2007 By:
Keeping up with all of Stijn Van Cauter’s bands is a daunting task, as the man helms over half a dozen different solo drone/funeral doom/ambient projects as well as being a full time member of two other similar-minded groups. I am a big fan of Cauter’s flagship project Until Death Over Takes Me, but my experience with his myriad of other endeavors has been decidedly hit or miss. From Funeral Skies, a re-issue of the lone album by Cauter’s 2002 band The Ethereal, falls squarely into the “miss” category. With an impressive amount of gusto, I might add.
I’m going to be perfectly clear; this is a piss-poor album in every way. The “music” contained on this disc is nothing but poorly produced layers of distorted guitar chords and noise interspersed with the occasional derivative lead picking and monotone growled vocal. All four of these songs are overly long, sound exactly the same, and go absolutely nowhere. Where bands like Sunn O))) use repetition and musical simplicity in conjunction with a powerful and distinctive sound to create mood and feeling, the music here is dry and dull and remains completely static. No atmosphere, no sense of movement or buildup, NOTHING but the same uninteresting sounds over and over. “Pointless” is a word I dislike and rarely use when referring to music, but I can’t find a term better suited to describing From Funeral Skies. Its frustrating, because the first time I listened to opening track “Beyond All Dreams” I was somewhat intrigued by the odd assortment of noise and vocals I heard during the first couple of minutes. But what I assumed was merely an ominous introduction to a greater whole turned out to be the entirety of the song. And as I would soon find out, the entirety of the album as well. I kept waiting, PLEADING for something interesting to happen during that first track, but nope. Nothing. Repeat this experience for three more songs and you have From Funeral Skies. I listened to the whole album four or five times, and not once did I walk away with anything afterward other than the desire to put on Black One or Transcendence Into The Peripheral to reassure myself that this kind of music does kick ass when made by musicians who hold themselves to some kind of standard.
The only worthwhile use I could think of for this album would be to serve as a template for how NOT to make funeral doom or drone metal. Even the fucking cover art is some of the worst I‘ve seen. I know that Stijn Van Cauter is capable of making some brilliant music; listen to the aforementioned Until Death Overtakes Me for proof of that. I also realize that artists like Cauter make music for themselves and probably couldn’t give a damn what the press says about their work. But it's albums like this that prove that being prolific for the sake of being prolific is not a recipe for good art. Why on earth this guy insists on spreading himself so thinly over so many similar-sounding projects is beyond me, but rest assured that I will take anything else this fellow releases with a large grain of salt after having to suffer through this disaster. For funeral and drone doom fans, there have been far too many quality releases in these genres in the last year or so to even consider spending your cash on this. For the rest of you, why the hell are you still reading this anyway?
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