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Hallowed Butchery : Funeral Rites for the Living

Sometimes some unexpected work happens to land in your hands. An artistic work that transcends genres, fills your spirit, captivates your senses. Something new and profound. 'Funeral Rites for the Living' is a work of this kind, Dictator's 'Dysangelist' is another that had a similar effect on me a few months ago. Two one man bands; originality can hardly be shared, you have to be the only boss aboard to display that radical force of conviction. It is a too personal vision.

Here, it is the one of Ryan Fairfield who offers the listener his first accomplished album. A strange album, which draws its twisted meanders from sources as diverse as Funeral Doom, Folk, Indus, Sludge, Pop... While listening to 'Funeral Rites for the Living', half a dozen artists comes to mind, according to each one's own musical culture: Until Death Overtakes Me, Of the Wand and the Moon, Peccatum, Neil Young (the last track is a cover of the artist), When, Skinny Puppy among others.

The tools are chosen for their narrative relevance: what must be expressed? Which instrument will best serve the emotion that must be instilled? Some Pop music lines, some gloomy Funeral Doom, some Sludgy filth give way to thundering industrial modulations, melodic flute, hypnotic atonal litany, moody acoustic guitar; pagan dance goes along with cosmic ode, soft Folk with meditative drones.
Hallowed Butchery's music is primarily melodramatic, at the service of an environmental message, it proclaims love of nature and roars against the devastating human enterprises. Not in a childish way. I think that point is important: if the lyrics had been of another kind, if the themes had been different, the music wouldn't have been shaped that way. At all.

One could criticize the artist's bulimia, it could be argued that playing with sounds that, at first glance, seem incompatible can only lead to failure, like building a castle doomed to simultaneously collapse. Wrong! The cement is inspiration, the intelligence of the songwriting: each track is the product of an outstanding know-how; never it appears like a collection of disparate moments put together, on the contrary, it is more like a thought in progress, the radiography of its metamorphosis, they are tortuous, but they always lead somewhere.

Beyond the richness of the inspiration, it must be stressed how huge the sound really is; the production has given the music of Hallowed Butchery a prophetic and almost apocalyptic dimension it needed. 'FRftL' also owes to the great mastering job the fact that it definitively looks more like an album that speaks its own language (be it considered inconsistent or not) than like a disorganized and compulsive note-book.

Forget your a priori. This album (that is too short and this will be my only regret) is for those who can see beyond appearances, to those willing to immerse themselves in an atypical universe. Life is not a dogma; music can not be reduced to formulas. Hallowed Butchery proves it with brilliance.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. A Wake for the Human Race
2. Pantheon Enthroned
3. Great North Woods
4. Back Asswards
5. Kingdom (Within You)
6. The Kennebec
7. Abolish the Pulpit
8. The Kennebec (Reprise)
9. After the Gold Rush (Neil Young cover)

Duration : Approx. 30 minutes.

Visit the Hallowed Butchery bandpage.

Reviewed on 28-09-2009 by Bertrand marchal
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