Funeral For The Sane
posted on 7/2011 By:
Imitation is the basest form of flattery, and the same is true for metal.
Take your pick: Just about every major sub-genre under the metal flag has experienced a wave of “tribute” and “new-school-old-school” bands. Death metal, specifically of the Swedish and '88-'91 US variety, is one of the latest. The causes for this, taken from a comparative standpoint, could be legion. However, with death metal especially, there appears to be one obvious catalyst: progress.
Sometime right around 2000, a gore-spattered coin was tossed. On one side, Muhammed Suicmez grinned sharp and wide (presumably at an 8th-edition, doctorate-level guitar technique book), and on the other grimaced Chris Riefert. Over and over it flipped, and eventually landed Suicmez side up. Dismember and Grave fell into obscurity. Brain Drill and Gorod got record deals. Life went on.
But taking into consideration that every action has that pesky reaction, it was only a matter of time before the other side, left festering in the darkness of the underground, bit at the hand that flipped it and, seeing that tech-death had reached its logical apex, pushed itself into the light of day. This is where we find Necrovorous, gnashing their teeth at the sun.
Following up a volley of demos and EPs, Funeral for the Sane is fairly standard for the Old-School-But-Actually-Modern-But-Sounds-Like-It-Was-Written-By-Fred-Etsby-Death-Metal. Openly paying tribute to the usual suspects (Entombed, Autopsy, Grave, and early Death), Necrovorous hammer through 10 tracks of competent, if not a bit immature death metal.
Shining brightest in mid-pace, songs like album closer “Dwellers of My Flesh” aptly tear through death metal's rotting carcass, weaving Swedish-style melody into muscular American-style riffing, and they're pretty effective. When they speed up, they tend to lose sync, and their weakest link, drummer Shit Eater (I shit you not), usually has to resort to overly simplistic drum work. This really tears down potential burners like “Spawn of Self Abhorrence” and “The Vilest of All Dreams,” where the riffing is improperly backed.
Beyond that, Funeral for the Sane is about what's to be expected. Vomited vocals, gibberish song titles, and the gangrenous atmosphere that tends to come with this kind of thing. Perhaps the most surprising bit about the entire album is the complete lack of that Hellenic sound. Though usually associated with black metal, throughout Greek metal in general there tends to be up-front NWOBHM-esque melody, beefy-but-simple drumwork and generally yelled vocals. In the effort to capture other styles, Necrovorous seems to (possibly purposefully) ignore the rich musical culture they are already steeped in. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it's definitely odd.
To actually take a stance on this is hard. It's not quite like throwback thrash and traditional bands, which sound dated from the get-go if only because of the time of their respective origins. Most of death metal's tropes are still actively used in bands that have no atavistic intent. So it doesn't sound as immediately out of touch, but at the same time, much akin to the aforementioned thrash and traditional bands, this retro-death movement misses the point. While the “classic” death metal albums these bands emulate are good by their own merit, they also emanate a charm. Scream Bloody Gore, Clandestine, and Severed Survival are the sounds of a genre learning to walk, to run. Revisiting that is like crawling to revisit how great it was to be a baby. Sure, the tit feeds well, but let's be honest, there is no actual relation, just a retelling of stories that have already been retold.
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