Funeral - To Mourn Is A Virtue (CD)

cult doom metal, Solitude Productions, Solitude Productions
479.90 Р
Price in points: 800 points
SP. 048-11 x
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Solitude Productions proudly presents the legendary Norwegian band`s album «To Mourn Is A Virtue». This release is the missing link between the classic albums «Tragedies» (1995) and «In Fields Of Pestilent Grief» (2002). This album is based on unreleased demo-recordings ,and contains nine previously unreleased tracks recorded between 1996 and 2004,remastered in 2010, almost 15 years after the moment they were initially recorded in the studio. «To Mourn Is A Virtue» could become a surprising opening both for fans of the band and those who are interested in the genre. Funeral, regarded as one of the first bands in the funeral doom metal genre, further evolved to a more doom/ death metal approach, now presents a classic doom metal record.

1 Hunger 9:01
2 God? 7:02
3 Your Pain Is Mine 7:47
4 The Poison 5:25
5 Dancing In A Liquid Veil 9:26
6 How Death May Linger 9:21
7 Father 7:31
8 Blood From The Soil 8:04
9 Wrapped All In Woe 5:44

Artist Country:
Album Year:
To Mourn Is A Virtue
cult doom metal
CD Album
Jewel Case
Solitude Productions
Cat No:
SP. 048-11
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Mtuk Metal Zine

When considering the influential bands of the early to mid-90’s Doom movement, the same names are always offered up, yet one that rarely seems to get a mention is Norway’s Funeral. Contemporaries of the My Dying Bride school of woe, Funeral have had a difficult and at times very disjointed upbringing. ‘To Mourn is a Virtue’ is a compilation of songs from the most fractured period of the band. Originally recorded as a set of instrumental tracks in May 1996, the tracks here have been reworked over the next 14 years and a variety of singers used. The end result is what they describe as the missing link between 1995’s ‘Tragedies’ and 2002’s ‘In Fields of Pestilent Grief’

Musically, this is like a time capsule. Swathes of early Anathema and My Dying Bride pour out, with mournfully beautiful guitar riffs hitting the mark just so. Vocally things are varied, with three different vocalists adding their talents to the album, the first of which is Frode Forsmo whose voice is confident and assured, and with layering often sounds like a group of chanting monks. Frode is probably the best of the singers on here, sounding in particularly fine voice on ‘Hunger’ and ‘God?’, a song with more than the occasional nod to My Dying Bride’s ‘I Am The Bloody Earth’. ‘Your Pain Is Mine’ is a brooding classic, with superb arrangement and musicianship and a drummer that must be dosed up on night nurse in order to be able to play that slow. Listening to ‘The Poison’, and knowing that Funeral are good friends with MDB, my overbearing thought was just how good it would sound with Aaron Stainthorpe singing. It sounded almost as if it could have been written for the Bride, but nevertheless it remains an excellent Funeral track.

The second vocalist to add his talents to the album is Шystein Rustad, who was actually their sound engineer at the time of the ‘In Fields of Pestilent Grief’ album. The change in style is quite obvious, (although not as much as for vocalist no.3, but we’ll come to that later), as Rustad has a strong yet wavery voice, which does not suit quite as well as Forsmo. That being said, he is more than competent, and at his best as on ‘Blood from the Soil, he sounds captivating; yet at his worst as on ‘Father’, things can degenerate into a cacophonous mess. Also, rather incongruously, he sometimes breaks out into a bit of a Layne Staley impression, as on ‘How Death May Linger’, which seemed like an odd choice to be honest. Rustad is clearly an excellent vocalist, but he cannot hold the attention in the same way as Frode Forsmo. On final track ‘Wrapped All In Woe’, Funeral brought in Sarah Eick, who previously provided vocals for their 1997 Demo also called ‘To Mourn is a Virtue’. That demo featured 5 of the songs from this album all sung by her, however this was considered to be the only track not improved by the new singers. Sara has an excellent, clear and strong voice, reminiscent of Tristania’s Vibeke Stene, and as a result the song sounds wonderful, but whether it sounds like Funeral is very much open to argument.

In various forms, ‘To Mourn Is a Virtue’ has been around for some time now, but never in such a complete fashion as this release. It does on occasion seem very slightly disjointed, like a collection of past demos stitched together and given a polish up, and if you looked upon it in a very literal sense that is what it is. If you were more generous however, and indeed this album very much deserves generous praise, then we can acknowledge that this is, as Funeral suggest, the missing link in their back catalogue. This is a fantastic disc full of classic doom from a classic band that has been honed and polished into the best versions that they can muster over the course of 14 years. Of course it’s going to be good!

Author: Lee Kimber

La doppia tragedia che ha colpito i Funeral nel corso della carriera, con la scomparsa di due dei membri fondatori della band nel giro di pochi anni, non ha intaccato la voglia di andare avanti. Dopo il precedente lavoro del 2008 è il momento di 'To Mourn Is A Virtue', una raccolta di brani composta nell'intervallo di tempo 1996-2004, alcuni già editati, altri praticamente riarrangiati e ricomposti. Quindi una sorta di "Best Of" segreto, o un album già pronto al tempo, ma mai pubblicato, che a tutti gli effetti possiamo considerare come una nuova fatica dato che, grazie all'opera della russa Solitude Production, è in grado di raggiungere l'audience necessaria grazie alla distribuzione planetaria. Un'ora e passa di musica che mostra un gruppo in lenta, ma continua evoluzione partendo dal funeral doom degli esordi, passando per una produzione più melodica, più tendente al malinconico ed al grigio rispetto alla tenebrosa oscurità degli esordi. Brani lunghi che si dipanano tormentati attraverso ritmiche crudeli e sofferte, ma che trovano uno spiraglio di luce grazie ad orchestrazioni all'altezza ed a vocals "pulite" che lanciano un'ombra gothicheggiante sulle melodie. Fattore, quest'ultimo, che sicuramente sarà stato amplificato con la rimasterizzazione avvenuta lo scorso anno. Alla fine è tutto come dovrebbe essere secondo i canoni del genere, ma certo è non siano di fronte ad un disco perfetto ed allo stesso tempo inutile: 'To Mourn Is A Virtue' è pregno di passione, di atmosfere solenni e cupe, di tragica teatralità, severo e di pari passo emozionante. Non inventa nulla, ma ti rapisce.

Si, piangere è una virtù.

Author: Andrea Punzo
Mortem Zine

Zřejmě nejznámější norská doom metalová družina FUNERAL se po necelých třech letech od alba ''As the Light Does the Shadow'' personálně srovnala a znovu vyrazila na zteč. Tím jsem myslel vydání nového alba, ale věc se má poněkud jinak. K této letité jistotě severské melancholie mám rozporuplný vztah. Nikdy jsem totiž nenabyl přesvědčení, že v její společnosti prožívám něco neobvyklého, něco, co by ve mně zanechalo hlubší dojem. Na druhou stranu, jistý druh respektu k ní v sobě nosím. FUNERAL patří mezi veterány scény s jediným stálým bojovníkem za kormidlem - Andersem Eekem. Neustále se proměňující sestava má pak svůj původ v poměrně dlouhých pauzách mezi alby. A tu nejdelší si vyplníme dnes. Kolekce ''To Mourn is a Virtue'' je totiž chybějící linkou mezi alby ''Tragedies'' a ''In Fields Of Pestilent Grief'', tedy sedm let trvajícím hluchým obdobím mezi roky 1995-2002.

A hned se mnohé vysvětluje. Například můj pofidérní dojem z novinky, která tak úplně novinkou není. Album zpočátku působí velmi průměrně (snad kromě úvodu v podobě ''Hunger''), až časem se dostaví alespoň mírná spokojenost. Do nadšení je ale zoufale daleko. Výsledek se mi jeví poněkud polovičatý. Zpočátku se kapela snaží působit klasicky dřevně a teprve poté dojde na atmosférickou stránku věci, a ta, jak Norové již dokázali, jim není úplně cizí. Spolu s decentním využitím kláves skladby přece jen ožijí a albu se dostane jisté dramatičnosti. Mají hned kvalitnější strukturu a skutečně se v nich něco odehrává, ale dobrých momentů je na albu stejně po málu. Být tohle novinka, se zlou by se u mě potázala. Písně působí odlišně díky poměrně širokému rozmezí jejich údajného vzniku. Ten se datuje do let 1996-2004. Další vadou na kráse je podle mého zpěv. Dokonce si myslím, že do skromného doomového doprovodu většinou nezapadá a někdy působí až rušivě (Frodo F.). Ve druhé polovině desky (vokály má na svědomí Øystein), která nabízí o něco zajímavější materiál, se zpěvák spolu s ním zhoupne k lepšímu výkonu, ale rozpaky převládají i tak. Poslední věc ''Wrapped All in Woe'' má pak na starost křehké stvoření jménem Sara.

Například oproti výpravnějšímu a obstojně kvalitnímu dílu nedávné historie skupiny - ''From These Wounds''- je tahle vzpomínka o třídu níž. Slabší, tak nějak bez zájmu odehraný smutný podkres nevalně pobrukujícímu vokálu, to je jediné, co si v souvislosti s ''To Mourn Is a Virtue'' v první fázi vybavím. Pak se dojem spraví, ale… chybí tomu zkrátka silnější nápady a i když tu nějaké jsou, přicházejí pět minut po dvanácté, v době, kdy už je ortel nad albem dokonán. Už jsem zmiňoval, že nejsem zrovna fanoušek této zasloužilé kapely, o to více by mě zajímaly názory těch, kteří se ve smutečním pochodu FUNERAL cítí lépe. Já si zkrátka dobré doom metalové album představuji trochu jinak. Jsou tu jen náznaky - a to je málo. A v tom případě si nejsem jistý, jestli bylo nutné tohle dílo vůbec vydávat. Možná jen pro potěchu samotné kapely a opravdu věrných fans. A já jsem možná zbytečně přísný, když se v této chvíli nejedná o nový materiál, ale tahle vzpomínka mi prostě nevoní a tím to končí.

Podivně odehrané i nazpívané album bez větších ambicí je u konce. Už teď jsem přesvědčen, že spolu s FUNERAL dám přednost jiným nahrávkám. Snad jediné, co mě v této chvíli na ''To Mourn Is a Virtue'' uspokojí, je jeho stará doom metalová vášeň, zahraná bez zbytečných příkras a efektů, zachované pravé melancholické řemeslo. Jeho nápaditější verze by ovšem desce prospěla. Ale je to vlastně ''relics'', tak co...

Author: Victimer
Zware Metalen

To Mourn is a Virtue van Noorweegse doomgoden Funeral is geen geheel nieuwe release. Het gaat hier om instrumentale opnames uit 1996 die door de jaren heen door diverse zangers en een zangeres zijn ingevuld. In eerste instantie dienden deze nummers, opgenomen in Academy Studios waar ook My Dying Bride pareltjes opnam, als sprong van Tragedies naar In Fields of Pestilent Grief om een contract in de wacht te slepen. Naar eigen zeggen lukte dit niet aangezien in die tijd de concentratie op black metal lag en er voor doom niet genoeg aandacht zou zijn. Dat dit nonsens is blijkt aan de, in diezelfde tijd, uitgekomen releases van My Dying Bride’s Like Gods of the Sun en Anathema’s Eternity.

Funeral klinkt minder toegankelijk maar niet minder goed. Integendeel. Maar vijf van deze nummers werden als demo uitgebracht met zangeres Sara Eick en daarmee kwam er geen contract. Met haar zang is het laatste nummer Wrapped All in Woe van deze cd gevuld en dat is wel, qua zang, het minste wat deze schijf te bieden heeft. Hier wordt de zang toch meer als instrument gebruikt terwijl het bij de andere nummers op zichzelf staat.

De cd valt in drieën te delen wat tot stand komt door de zang. De eerste vier nummers zijn ingezongen door Frode Forsmo. Naast het feit dat de gitaarpartijen je al meenemen in de diepste en donkerste gedachten haalt Forsmo de trekker over. Weerstand is zinloos, al helemaal wanneer er tweestemmig gezongen wordt. De samensmelting van zijn zang tezamen met de door melancholie doordrenkte gitaarpartijen zijn subliem. Het mag dan ook geen wonder zijn dat hij is ingelijfd om prachtplaten From These Wounds en As the Light Does the Shadows van zang te voorzien.

Het tweede gedeelte is voor Øystein Rustad, een geluidstechnicus van de band, die na het verzorgen van de zang van Vile Are the Pains op In Fields of Pestilent Grief de gelegenheid kreeg een viertal nummers in te zingen. Zijn stemgeluid is wat lichter en minder intens dan dat van Forsmo maar past prima bij de muziek. Mooi is de trilling in zijn stem die voor de juiste weemoedigheid zorgt. Zoals al vermeld is het laatste nummer ingezongen door Sara Eick, die na de demo-opnames de band alweer snel verliet. Dit is het enige nummer dat rechtstreeks afkomstig is van de originele demo. Qua geluid klinkt de mengtafelafstemming van Anathema door ten tijde van Serenades, en dan voornamelijk het gitaargeluid.

Of My Dying Bride, goede vrienden van dit collectief, de mosterd bij hen haalde of andersom is te bezien maar muzikale raakvlakken zijn er zeker te vinden. Toch is Funeral, vergeleken met zojuist genoemden, minder romantisch van aard en vooral een stuk depressiever en mistroostiger.

Het is een goede zet geweest dit onuitgebrachte demomateriaal alsnog op de wereld los te laten. Het zijn namelijk composities die niets onderdoen voor regulier uitgebracht werk. Sterker nog, songs als God? en Your Pain is Mine zijn misschien wel de beste die ze tot op heden geschreven hebben. Tevens is het een kans om overleden leden Christian Loos en Einar Andre Frederiksen nog eens de snaren te horen beroeren. Verplichte kost voor de doomliefhebber in het algemeen en Funeral-liefhebbers in het bijzonder.

Author: Ronald Lagerwaard
Pavillon 666

Funeral est un groupe de doom métal Norvégien formé en 1991 par Anders Eek et Thomas Angell. Après de nombreux changements de Line-up, la première démo de Funeral sort sous le nom de Tristesse un an plus tard. Le guitariste Christian Loos les rejoint et c’est en 1994 que la chanteuse Toril Snyen arrive également. Leur seconde démo "Beyond All Sunsets" voit le jour. Le groupe se fait ainsi remarqué par le label Arctic Serenades et leur premier album Tragedies sort en 1995. Après deux changements supplémentaires de line –up au chant et à la guitare, Funeral sort deux nouvelles démos, Demo 97 et Demo 99. Le groupe décide alors de recruter un clavériste Kjetil Ottersen. Et puis en janvier 2003, une tragédie s’abat sur le groupe avec le décès de leur Bassiste/chanteur et compositeur Einar Fredriksen. Après un an et demi d’absence c’est au tour de Frode Forsmo de reprendre le flambeau au chant.
En avril 2006, le groupe signe chez un nouveau label norvégien Tabu Recordings mais la chance n’est décidément pas de leur côté et une nouvelle tragédie survient avec la mort du guitariste Christian Loos. Mats Lerberg est alors recruté pour prendre la relève. En décembre 2006 sort l’album From these wounds et septembre 2008 as the light does the shadow. La biographie de ce groupe norvégien est donc remplie de rebondissements mais cela n’a pas l’air de décourager Funeral qui revient en mai de cette année avec leur tout nouvel album "To Mourn Is A Virtue". Cet opus reprend des titres un peu égarés pendant la période de «Tragedies» (1995), «In Fields Of Pestilent Grief» (2002) et également d’autres démos encore jamais sorties au grand jour.

Dès le premier titre de ce nouvel album, on peut effectivement s’apercevoir que le groupe excelle toujours autant dans le doom métal, d’une façon assez sombre et mélodique. Ils sont d’ailleurs considérés pour certains comme les pionniers de ce sous-genre. Les titres sont assez longs, le titre "Dancing In A Liquid Veil" dure 9.21 min. Cependant ce n’est pas pour autant désagréable à l’écoute, c’est même ce qui fait le charme de ce groupe. Comme les précédents opus, l’écoute se fait de façon progressive, et il n’est pas très conseillé d’écouter l’album d’une seul traite afin d’éviter une certaine lassitude. Les compos sont lentes et longues, les guitares profondément graves et lourdes, les leads guitares très mélodieuses relèvent le tout et assure une limpidité remarquable. La batterie, même lente, participe à cette ambiance lourde et pesante. A travers le titre "God, Funeral" nous offre même de la double pédale, infiniment ralentie bien évidemment. La voie, assez lyrique, inspire une réelle tristesse. Celle-ci est très souvent doublée comme par exemple sur le titre "How Death May Linger", ce qui amène une certaine puissance et une couleur musicale assez importante et grandissante de titres en titres. Les arrangements des claviers, notamment sur "Blood From The Soil", sont très appréciables et amènent réellement quelque chose de plus aux compos. Des titres comme "Your Pain Is Mine" ou même "Father" sont très émouvants, nous sommes là au sommet le plus haut du Funeral Doom Dépressif.

Pour conclure, Funeral n’est pas un groupe pour vous si vous cherchiez du dynamisme ! Cependant, ce groupe n’a plus à faire sa place dans le domaine du doom metal. Les compos sont certes infiniment dépressives et lentes, mais elles n’en restent pas moins très mélodieuses et au final remplies d’espoir.

Author: Teenage.Whore
The Pit of the Damned

Altro nuovo lavoro per i Funeral, altra nuova release straripante di poesia e abnegazione verso il mondo delle macchine e dello sviluppo. Le atmosfere che la band riporta in auge si accostano a quel sentimento di perdita e rinnovamento che così prepotentemente ha segnato l’intero Ottocento letterario. Le liriche non evocano demoni, ma apatie e mostri dell’inconscio. Soffrire è una virtù. E di virtù, al tempo d’oggi, ne sono rimaste molto poche. Peccato questo non sia un concept. L’album si apre con una melodia pulita di note singole, “Hunger”, che ha qualcosa di intrinsecamente medievaleggiante e piacevolmente rilassante. Il momento paradisiaco termina venti secondi più tardi con l’entrata in campo di chitarre distorte (non eccessive), quasi a voler dichiarare che tutto quello che di bello ci può essere non dura. È uno schema che ritroverete spesso nel corso delle 9 tracce. “God?” è un puro mix di accordi doom My Dying Bride e Shape of Despair. A mio avviso l’interessante idea che sottintende al punto di domanda di “God?” non è però all’altezza dei 7 minuti della canzone. Mi sarei aspettato un exploit o un cambio di tempo verso il termine della canzone, ma il ritmo prosegue piatto e ripetitivo. Altro titolo da prendere in considerazione è assolutamente “Blood From the Soil”, dove le tastiere giocano un ruolo fondamentale nel creare un sottofondo che fa pensare alle altissime navate di cattedrali in rovina. Suoni lenti, toni alti, un basso praticamente inesistente, voci chiare e pulite. Ecco, le voci... Manca una caratteristica di fondamentale in questa fatica dei Funeral: una voce capace di avvolgere, nel bene e nel male. Ogni traccia dell’album è scandita da un coro di voci pulite (canti gregoriani?) che pur eccellendo in passionalità non tiene conto della prima regola del doom come genere musicale: la capacità di rapire l’ascoltatore per portarlo da qualche altra parte, in qualche altro tempo. Quindi, giusto per farvelo sapere, mi trovo davanti ad esempi eccelsi di sonorità come “Your Pain is Mine”, e mi incazzo come un bastardo quando so già che non potrò ascoltarla più di un paio di volte, perché le cantilene simil-gregoriane sono troppo per le mie orecchie, e non ci stanno affatto bene in un album di questo tipo. Appartengono più al genere gothic, e ancor più ad una session femminile. Al contrario, un ottimo lavoro in questa direzione è stato fatto con l’ultima traccia, “Wrapped All in Woe”, un viaggio enigmatico vicinissimo ai lidi frequentati dai nostrani Gothica di “The Cliff of Suicide”. Bei tempi quelli. Cosa posso dirvi per evitare di divagare? L’eccessiva presenza dei My Dying Bride, sebbene estremamente ispirata, è qualcosa di noiosamente ridondante nell’opera: e badate bene, i My Dying Bride rappresentano l’incarnazione perfetta del doom malinconico, il mio giudizio è riferito al quasi esclusivo uso dei passaggi che i Funeral utilizzano in “To Mourn is a Virtue”. Questa è un’opera molto ricercata a livello musicale, ma altamente fastidiosa per la nenia dei cori che insistono a decretare la loro noiosa presenza.

Author: Damiano Benato

Il ritorno dell'antico splendore, la classe di chi ha contribuito a plasmare un genere come il funeral doom metal che ritorna pura e cristallina. C'è voluta un opera di "restauro" per riavere la creatura Funeral su livelli di assoluta eccellenza (gli ultimi dischi non sono per niente brutti, ma rispetto all'imponente tragicità degli esordi era facile "venire meno"), le radici di questo To Mourn Is A Virtue sono da ricercarsi a partire dagli anni 1996/1998, ma si arrivano anche a sentire composizioni più recenti scritte al massimo nel 2004. Insomma, un lungo lasso di tempo che però non rovina una operazione costruita a dovere per restare a lungo nei nostri cuori frantumati dalle molteplici esperienze di ogni giorno.

Non troverete nemmeno uno "scarto" su To Mourn Is A Virtue, è bene non farsi ingannare dal fatto di trovarsi davanti un full-lenght mascherato da compilation (sebbene di inediti), anzi i Funeral esprimono la loro classe su massimi livelli, e pazienza se la voce femminile non arriva a completare del tutto il matrimonio con il passato (il cantato maschile è sofferto quanto basta, e comunque il contentino "female" lo abbiamo egualmente con la conclusiva Wrapped All In Woe).
Non sarà facile affrontare l'ora e dieci minuti complessiva, per farlo bisogna essere senza dubbio predisposti alla sofferenza più totale, restare esposti per così lungo tempo a tale dolore musicale non è certamente cosa da tutti i giorni. Bisogna lottare per entrare nel disco, sudarselo sino in fondo, gustarsi ogni decadente sensazione che riesce a trasmettere. Viscerale ed ipnotico, To Mourn Is A Virtue riuscirà nel tempo ad "aprire" varchi impensabili, e il suo ascolto diventerà piano piano sempre più leggero dando allo stesso tempo tanta, tanta "dipendenza".
Ascoltare questo album è come una continua e piacevole tortura, quando credi di aver toccato l'apice emotivo più toccante i Funeral te ne piazzano un altro altrettanto intenso pochi minuti dopo, questo è il vero tesoro di To Mourn Is A Virtue, riuscire a mantenere e rinnovare una linearità incredibilmente superiore ad ogni capitolo presente in tracklist.

Sono pure emozioni strazianti quelle che mi pervadono quando attacca la prima Hunger, penso che le mie orecchie poche altre volte abbiano sentito una simile e perfetta decadenza musicale protratta per così lungo tempo. Le vocals (sono due gli interpreti maschili) non concedono la minima speranza di riuscita, sono in parole povere la "negatività più totale e depressa", bastano anche pochi versi per gettare addosso all'ascoltatore quintali di sofferenza. Si resta anestetizzati, stregati a dovere e li si rimane sino alla fine, in uno stato di consapevole "catatonicità". Attraverso l'oscura nenia God? , (preghiera pregna di romanticismo dalla quale sarà impossibile evadere) e la totale Your Pain Is Mine (quanto sentimento quelle chitarre) si arriva a una The Poison semplicemente catalizzante, capace di fermare e torturare il tempo nei suoi brevi cinque minuti. Per capire di che pasta siamo fatti c'è la seconda metà del disco, ancora più opprimente, tortuosa e lunga, iniziata da una Dancing In A Liquid Veil per la quale grandiosità mi è difficile trovar parole. E' invece lacrimevole How Death May Linger (arte pura), canzone distributrice di passaggi fondamentali per comprendere la grandiosità dell'opera. Father è un altro canto gotico, disperato e lancinante che si lascia andare in maniera splendida in un finale liberatorio. Tastiere eteree fanno da sfondo a tutto il disco, ma sono protagoniste fondamentali di alcune canzoni come nel caso di Blood From The Soil, a suo modo ariosa e "diurna" ma pur sempre azzeratrice di speranza come tutte le altre. Alla fine -come dicevo in apertura- c'è la sorpresa "femminile", Wrapped All In Woe è una perla di incredibile valore, tanto delicata quanto semplice, sollevata magicamente dai soavi gorgheggi misti ad un indovinato parlato maschile. Non poteva essere creato finale migliore per un masterpiece di tali proporzioni.

To Mourn Is A Virtue si impone oggi come capolavoro, poco importa se del presente o del passato. Ascoltare funeral doom ed evitare (o non sentire propria) tale uscita equivale a giungere al più completo fallimento personale. Ogni frammento merita di essere ascoltato con la massima attenzione e passione, il dolore si prenderà prima tutto per poi lasciare posto alla quiete a lungo cercata. Grazie Funeral.

Author: DukeFog

All who know Funeral know that they are one of the highlights of depressing doom in an unorthodox manner. Here, the band releases a compilation of unreleased tracks and demos from between the eras of 'Tragedies' and 'In Fields Of Pestilent Grief,' their second and third album. It invovles lots of epic work- all remastered- that is very typical of the Funeral known for their album 'Wounds.' It isn't a link between albums necessarily, but more along the lines of B-sides and an urge to revisit old tracks that just never made the cut for full lengths. For new fans, it is not the usual funeral doom/ doom metal since it doesn't feature the standard growls. They are all clean vocals- very mournful and congregation like with an excellent droning effect that really makes one feel the depression behind the heavy guitars, which can be compared to the likes of bands like Draconian.

Highlight tracks include "Hunger" for just the reverb drenched guitar that goes along with the vocals well. "Your Pain Is Mine" has some beautiful piano involved. "How Death May Linger" has the synth behind the vocals when they moan away- very similar to Moonspell clean vocals or that of Rapture but more monk-like and suited well for the gothic doom era without seeming too over produced. It helps them stand out much more. With "Father" it is a perfect funeral orchestra musically, but also shows a louder sound which symbolizes possible change in between the history of the albums. Here- and onward with Funeral's work- the vocals tend to lose their echo effect and can become somewhat laughable with how sad they try to be during the choruses. This is the only downside, and thankfully it only happens a few times as the vocals live ip to their expectations. Finally there is "Wrapped All In Woe" which is another great doom metal opus, but features female vocal additions to make Funeral even more dynamic than they already all.

Overall, 'To Mourn Is A Virtue' is a great addition to any Funeral or melodic doom metal fan that wants something aside from the usual growl n' chug stuff. It will surely depress one in the most 'pleasant' way possible without being too crushing like death doom or too whining and melodic like gothic doom. Those who already own the demos from 97 and 99 have no need to get this as most of the tracks are from there, but it is a nice retrospective collection of songs that pretty much lives up to the Funeral testimony. The unreleased tracks are decent, but the remastered demos are the treue highlights. This really is only really meant for those who are just getting into Funeral or haven't heard their first three albums. Older fans can probably sink into it for a while they wait for the next 'original' album, but they may not get as much enjoyment out of it overall.

Author: devilmetal747

Let me start this off with a little bit of background information in terms of my perception and listening relationship with this group. I can safely admit that I am not a very big follower of Funeral or their underground legacy. I know of the band, as well as being familiar with sporadic bits of their material, but I don't know every album, every demo, every lineup change... I have just never cared enough about them to seek out that information. However, I was familiar with the demo release of 'To Mourn Is A Virtue' which came out back during the dark ages of 1997. I had liked what I heard then and, upon revisiting some of the material, I still like it today. I do know that since that release there have been significant lineup changes, there have been deaths within the band and I am somewhat aware that they've 'evolved' their sound.

With that having been said, I really want to know why the band felt the need to reach into their musical past, pull out this demo and say amongst themselves: "Hey, let's completely re-record this with the new members and newer sound, even though we've released 3 full length albums since it was originally recorded." It makes someone on the other side of the coin think that they had nothing better to do with their time than re-construct a demo that many had hailed as brilliant for it's time 14 years ago. It also doesn't make much sense for a band who is attempting to take their sound to the next level and somewhat distance themselves from their earlier roots would think this was a good conscious decision.

I suppose that the above statements will be enough of an opening stance, so that I may now tell you what to expect from this revisitation experience. The female vocals are almost completely gone (Except for a partial placement on the album's closing track) and replaced by two different vocalists for each half of the album. The first vocalist displays very average Gothic Doom style clean vocals, with fairly monotonous harmonized sections that sound a bit like a less talented Mikael Åkerfeldt (Opeth). The second vocalist is somewhat similar in style, as he too fits the Gothic Doom bill but has a much higher range that causes a bit of an earache as the album unfolds. The best thing about this album, to me, is the drumwork. Over time I've grown pretty used to straightforward and repetitive drum patterns in Doom Metal material, but that is not the case here. Not only does he show off a heavy array of different fills throughout the album, his rhythm patterns are pretty intricate as well and not a style you normally see within this genre.

One of the few things I really like is the piano work. The grand piano sounds used are magnificent, although they don't see a whole lot of time on the album, which I find unfortunate. Elsewhere, the guitar work on most of the album just screams mid-era My Dying Bride. The tones and chord progressions are the biggest culprits in terms of that accusation. Admittedly, though, these aren't terrible traits to have, as I do enjoy My Dying Bride's guitar sound. I merely expected more out of a band with the underground clout and reputation that Funeral has. One prominent issue I have is that while some bands can pull off having songs of a prolonged length, nearly all the tracks on this album just seem to drag along much more than necessary. Another thing to note is that the production, albeit crisp and clear, is lacking in terms of a noticeable bottom end and therefore comes off as sounding fairly thin during most of the songs. I also find a problem with parts of the mixing, as the drums can have a tendency to somewhat bury the guitars.

From front to back, I have to say that I'm not a fan of the album. A main point could be argued that if the band had a better assortment of vocalists for this recording, it definately could've worked in their favor. Maybe my feelings would be different if it wasn't a band re-recording a release that I was already familiar with, but what's done is done.

Author: Jon Carr
Magazyn Gitarzysta

Trudno o nazwę zespołu bardziej adekwatną do prezentowanej przezeń stylistyki. "To Mourn is a Virtue" to blisko 70 minut oraz 9 utworów, utrzymanych w naprawdę wolnych tempach. Niestety, granie to jest w równym stopniu funeralowe, co diabelsko nudne.

Pogrzeby nie należą może do szczególnie ekscytujących ceremonii, jednak ucinać sobie drzemki w ich trakcie raczej nie wypada.

Funeral działa już 20 lat, ja natomiast, choć żyłem dotąd w może nieco zuchwałym przekonaniu, że jestem nieźle zorientowany w zawartości doomowej szuflady, nigdy wcześniej nie miałem styczności z muzyką tego projektu. Podejrzewam zresztą, że nie ja jeden. Nie mam jednak pewności, czy "To Mourn is a Virtue" jest odpowiednią propozycją dla tych, którzy chcieliby nadrobić w tym zakresie zaległości…

Album jest, zdaniem kapeli, zaginionym ogniwem między debiutanckim krążkiem "Tragedies" z 1995 roku, a jego następcą, to jest wydanym siedem lat później "In Fields of Pestilent Grief". Innymi słowy, nie jest to premierowy ani świeży materiał, tylko zremasterowany zbiór nigdy wcześniej niepublikowanych utworów, zarejestrowanych między 1996 a 2004 rokiem. Moim zdaniem, wyrabianie sobie opinii na temat twórczości Norwegów na tej tylko podstawie może być cokolwiek mylące. Byłoby bowiem z korzyścią dla wszystkich, gdyby to zagubione ogniwo nigdy nie wypełzło z otchłani niebytu. A najlepiej, gdyby na wieki pozostało sześć stóp pod ziemią, przywalone solidnych rozmiarów głazem nagrobnym.

Bez owijania w bawełnę, "To Mourn is a Virtue" to kiepska, męcząca, skrajnie monotonna płyta, która ciągnie się w nieskończoność. Przyznaję, że nie przy każdym odsłuchu byłem w stanie dotrwać do końca materiału, czasem ręka całkowicie bezwiednie, w oderwaniu od świadomości wciskała przycisk ‘stop’. Wszystkie utwory są do siebie bliźniaczo podobne, jak wyklepane od sztancy, i utrzymane w jednakowych tempach. Aż trudno uwierzyć, że powstawały na przestrzeni tylu lat. Wokalista, przez większość czasu, smętnie zawodzi, dokładnie w tej samej manierze, choć w paru momentach pokazuje nawet, że potrafi śpiewać inaczej. Zbliża się wtedy nieco do gardłowego Novembers Doom, ale przynajmniej dzieje się coś innego. Sytuacji nie ratują niestety kobiece wokale w "Wrapped All in Woe". "To Mourn is a Virtue" to prawdziwy, okrutny trening dla cierpliwości i wytrzymałości słuchacza. Odradzam.

Author: Szymon Kubicki
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