Funerary Bell formed in Finland in 2007, and The Coven is their first full-length release. For a week or two now it’s served as that album I put on when I can’t decide what I want to listen to, and I’ve come to like it quite a lot.
Vision of the Undead (World)
It might be the album’s lack of distinguishing features that makes it so appealing to me. It’s not distorted or lo-fi to the point of obscurity. There are no unearthly shrieks, just standard death metal growls and some menacing whispers. It never bombards, never gets all that fast, pays ample homage to black metal’s punk/thrash roots without ever breaking from its plodding, eerie pace for more than a few minutes…
It’s really just standard oldschool black metal. But that’s not something I ever really hear these days. Maybe this sort of music isn’t actually that hard to find. I’m not one of those people with the time and resources to keep up with every new release within any particular genre. Yeah, I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of material similar to this gets released and promptly forgotten every year without my ever noticing. But this is the one I happened to stumble upon.
I think what I like best is the tempo. Their determination to never get too hasty gives the album a high degree of consistency. It’s always either a slow plod or a thrash beat. There’s not much else. So it transitions from track to track without ever changing the vibe, letting you just kind of chill out and enjoy the dark feeling without many highs or lows. And the subtler effects of tremolo picking and occasional keyboard organs stand out a bit more when there’s nothing else competing with them.
Cainian Confessions II
If you’re looking for diversity, this isn’t the place. You’ll end the album without remembering any tracks distinctly, and only nod your head in recollection a few times on a second play through. The Coven doesn’t aim very high, and it’s really unremarkable on a track by track basis, especially the further in you get. But as a whole it’s a very nice background piece–something I’ve enjoyed far more in passing than during this more attentive listen through. There’s a decent chance I’ll forget about it entirely before long, but in the meantime it’s been fun. And maybe it’ll find a spot in my queue again this fall, once I’ve played all the classics to death for the year and still want to feel that early black metal vibe.