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Fvneral Fvkk : Lecherous Liturgies (EP)

The childish bandname and tediously overdone PR hype don't really do justice to a surprisingly decent slab of Epic Doom.

If you're anything like me, you may well find the most offputting aspect of this debut EP to be the titling. I'm not at all offended by the underlying desire to address the depravities of ecclesiastical sexual abuse and necrophilia - that is, after all, a matter of some record (albeit I am a little sceptical that it evidences the band's view they are a vessel for the will of God as a foul pervert). I do, however, find the band monicker to be unbearably prissy. I mean, really - Fvneral Fvkk? Conjures rather more of a sub-Mötley Crüe snigger than a genuine call to obscene hedonism - which is pretty offensive, but for all the wrong reasons - and a long way from the presumably desired impact of something like Skullflower's evocative 'Fucked On A Pile Of Corpses'.

Anyway, what that does do is leave me wondering how exactly to view this offering. I'm not really helped by the description of "combine the pastoral beauty and solemnity of a cathedral (musically) with the infidelity and vileness of a cemetary prostitute (semantically), with lyrics that deal exclusively with the debauchery of the clergy and / or necrophilia in the name of god". It doesn't seem to apply to what I'm hearing - at least, not lyrically. Those are actually quite mature and delicately euphemistic, even less risqué than the track titles themselves - more on a par with the poetic musings of My Dying Bride's 'The Sexuality Of Bereavement', than with the blatant deviancy of Alice Cooper's 'I Love The Dead' - despite vocalist Cantor Cinaedicus ('dissolute singer') slipping in the occasional 'copulation', 'loins' or 'filthy whore'.

So far, so pleasant, and, musically, they're pretty much flawless: something you'd probably expect from a side-project by members of Ophis, Fäulnis and Crimson Swan. The three tracks encapsulate a crisp, dynamic, punchy old-school slow'n'low Epic Doom vibe with an Iommi-esque edge to the more flashy and ornamented sections of lead fretwork. The vocals sound they like they originate from Crimson Swan: clean, sustained, comparatively deep and with a grave, frequently quite tragic, inflection - avoiding all of the worst excesses of histrionics that can mar the genre. At times, such as when intoning "I am your Lord, the Holy one" (in 'Underneath The Phelonion'), they're reminiscent of the downbeat fatalism of Østen Bergøy from Tristania's 'Illuminations' period. It's more likely, though - and despite the general absence of vocal similarities - that the heavy, quite choppy and contrasting switches of rhythm and riffs in 'Lecherous Liturgies' is going to pull up thoughts of Solitude Aeternus. Not necessarily quite a vision of 'pastoral beauty', but certainly one with a cogently-presented solemnity and gravitas.

So, in some respects, I'm really not much the wiser. As a concept, I'm sorry to say, it seems a bit superficial and messy - almost as if the description is deliberately intended to disappoint those who like the idea of a bit of Doom pornogrind and might investigate it, whilst simultaneously failing to attract those most likely to appreciate the musical content. Who knows, perhaps it's some sort of Germanic humour that I just haven't picked up in translation. Perhaps there are more than enough fans of the parent bands for it to find an audience regardless. Or maybe I'm simply overthinking it, and the childish pretend-sweariness and claimed focus on depravity won't cheapen or misrepresent a very decent musical oeuvre about the interaction between power, divinity, sexuality and death to others the same way it does to me. Bottom line: best to take it at ear, rather than face, value - in which case it's a concise, solid twenty-minute slab of Epic Doom that you could safely leave playing if your mum turned up for an unexpected visit (as long as you don't show her the cover, perhaps), and that's probably enough for most people who should be giving it a hearing.

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Reviewer's rating: 6.5/10


Tracklist :
1. Erection In The House Of God
2. Underneath The Phelonion
3. Fvkking At Fvnerals

Duration : Approx. 18 minutes

Visit the Fvneral Fvkk bandpage.

Reviewed on 2017-07-10 by Mike Liassides
A Dream Of Poe - The Wraith Uncrowned
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