Finally, the weekend is upon us. What better way to kick it off than with the latest installment of "Funeral Doom Friday". For those who are new to this column; each week features a new or classic album from the realm of extreme doom. Much of funeral/death doom's might comes from an oppressive emotional weight and the use of death or black metal motifs (played at a trudging pace, of course.) Pioneers like Mournful Congregation, Evoken, and Esoteric have mastered this blend of dirge and destruction. For 25 years, they have methodically built compositions that stretch for dozens of minutes all while keeping fans enthralled. Time has elapsed since the days of Thergothon and much like the world around us, the genre has evolved. Today's modern bands contort the very construct of the genre, breeding darkly refreshing new work. Their work thankfully gives this column plenty of material to share.
Someone recently pointed out on Twitter that FUNERAL DOOM has an anagram: REAL FUN MOOD. I don't know about you, my wonderful reader, but funeral doom does certainly put me in a "real fun mood" of sorts. So for this week, I'm changing the name of the column this week to Real Fun Mood Friday—enjoy.
I will promptly be changing the name of Funeral Doom Friday to Real Fun Mood Friday. https://t.co/DmLA23JirZ
— Cody F. Davis (@codyeff) May 3, 2018
Speaking of a really fun mood, the new album from Sacramento's CHRCH has been quite a delight. The band has been making overwhelmingly heavy sludge for the last few years—five if you count the years they had a "U" in their name. Their music has toed the line between this sludge-ridden doom and outright funeral doom in the past. Their debut, Unanswered Hymns, and their half of a split with Fister definitely showed that. Still, their newest effort, Light Will Consume Us All, sees the quintet teeter even further into a realm of dirge and lament.
The monstrous opening track, "Infinite," has its moments. At over 20 minutes long it allows for plenty of time for CHRCH to fuse their former ferocious sludge with some more morose, funereal passages. To boot, Eva Rose's occult-like vocals add just a touch of haze to instrumentation as well. Yet, the greatest moments of the Californians' threnody comes in the album closer, "Aether." For years, CHRCH existed in a sonic realm akin to Primitive Man or Thou—simply soul-crushing musical might. However, on this new song "Aether." The finale begins with towering riffs that would make Damon Good proud. It maintains such a classical funeral doom structure for much of its runtime before flipping into something dark and almost blackened—it's stunning.
This requiem carries such somber weight. Yet, CHRCH is a band of professionals who balance long-form music sensationally. It's a chore for some, but seeing them grow into this music over the last five years has been a treat. This second full-length record is anything but sophomore. In fact, it stands as a marker for growth, an expansion of talent and understanding. It is albums like Light Will Consume Us All that make the breadth of doom metal refreshing.
Light Will Consume Us All arrives next Friday. For the time being, check out the massive second track from the album, "Portals." Pre-orders for the album are available now through Neurot Recordings.