Funeral Oppression – The Prisoners Of Life

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Funeral Oppression and their latest album, The Prisoners of Life, are two things that I’m new to. Their genre of choice, Black Metal…

Not so much. I’ve heard some before. I’m no expert, but what I’ve listened to in the past from music of this genre has been visceral, gripping and raw. This most recent release is certainly all three of those things. In addition, I also want to highlight that it’s promising initially due to the fact that the production quality is pretty much on point (for Black Metal) in most respects – something that I personally enjoy as a bit of an audiophile.

Is there more to this album than respectable sound quality? Of course, but not if you’re looking for a new favourite tune that’s less than 8 minutes in length. All five tracks are quite long. That said, they’re interesting to listen to, and engaging. It’s not just blast beats and alternate picking. The introductory piece, titled “Enveloped by Shadows” goes from fury to a state of melancholy, and the music represents and communicates the changes appropriately. The latter stage is almost beautiful. The drumming, uncharacteristically sombre, compliments the lead melodies, the clean guitar harmonies in the background, and it all works out rather well to “suit the mood”.

The vocal style is a loyal trademark of the genre. It’s guttural, but not deafening and certainly not overwhelming. It’s easy to get caught up in the instrumental sections, such as with “In This Stunning Silence…” where the singer shares upper register time with the lead guitar lines. The rhythm guitar riffage is almost anthemic. It’s jovial in a sense, and some of the bits within the first half of this 10 minute track are almost inspiring. I can’t understand what the vocalist is saying, but I still feel good about it.

Has this album been an easy one to write about, even with the long song length? Yes. Yes it has. It has been lovely, because it hasn’t been trying to overcomplicate and outdo itself. The musicians who perform the various pieces are obviously talented and are tight, but they don’t lay on instrumental wankage. I can only imagine how amazing the live performances would be!

In an age where metal seems like either a bucket tonne of fret 0’s or djent technicality, it’s great to have this type of organic performance in the market. The performances aren’t perfect, but the little off-bits make it more authentic and easier to relate with. Again, I come back to production value – its 2015 and I feel like this group made the most of what was available, sans autotune.

Keen on Black Metal? Do this. Do this album now. Thanks.