posted on 12/2007 By:
In an era where black metal is often either pretentiously “difficult” or stupidly simplistic, German quintet Eternity avoid both extremes and deliver an excellent record that will feel familiar to black metal fans yet refreshingly innovative at the same time. While more traditional and easily digested than, say, Blut Aus Nord, Eternity avoid staleness by taking great care in crafting deep and memorable song structures, and keeping the listener’s attention with well-developed riff patterns and intense musicianship.
Taking influence primarily from classic acts like Immortal and Mayhem, Funeral Mass is the complete package; everything about this disc, right down to the cover art and lyrics, positively reeks of talent and professionalism. The production is pretty much exactly how I wish every black metal band would sound--loud and clear, but gritty and atmospheric as well. Bucking common trend, these guys are ace musicians, and it's obvious the difference having a full band makes in this regard as opposed to one or two people. The bass lines are superb, playing off of the riffs rather than shadowing them; reminds me of Varg Vikernes’s brilliant bass work on De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas. Vocals are another high point; while familiar in tone, they are executed with conviction and clarity, and really drew me into the music.
“Funeral Mass” opens the work with mid-tempo riffing and a suitably misanthropic vibe, showing the outfit’s diverse sonic repertoire and affinity for eerie melodies. The band is competent playing in a variety of tempos, from blast beats to slower, doomier speeds, so don‘t expect anything boring or overly repetitive. “The One Within All” and “Horncrowned Emperor” are both speedy, strong tracks that continue the group’s skillful display of trademark black metal violence and intelligent melody. But it’s the long, slow, and moody cut “One Way Hell” that stands out to me the most. “One Way Hell” shows Eternity plod along through an string of downbeat, malevolent passages, occasionally breaking into moments of depressed melody that are as compelling as something you‘d hear from one of black metal‘s big name acts. Krieg’s vocals on this track are top-notch as well, sounding genuinely morbid and desperate. Epic in structure and surprisingly emotional, “One Way Hell” is one of the better black metal songs I’ve heard this year.
The rest of Funeral Mass is of similarly high quality. “In Dimensions Of Pale Thorns” is stirringly melodic and features more of that great bass-guitar interplay, and serves perfectly as the album‘s closing track. Really, it's hard to come up much real criticism for Eternity’s work here. This is great black metal that I can see pleasing fans of both the simpler and more complex forms of that genre. Its raw yet well-written; harsh, yet melodically strong. If you’re looking to sink your teeth into something less daunting than the latest offerings by Wolves In The Throne Room or Deathspell Omega yet no less gratifying, I highly recommend you check Funeral Mass out. Hopefully reception will be strong for this album and these guys will start to get the attention they deserve.
Register to post comments.