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Funeris : Baleful Astral Elements

Perhaps a little fatigued with 7 albums over just 4 years, this latest from Argentinian band Funeris scores higher on Ambient, rather than Funeral, content.

Having realised that 'Baleful Astral Elements' was the seventh full-length release of Argentinian Funeral Doom act Funeris within the space of four years, I was a bit concerned that I'd find some very "forced" music on this album.

The intro temporarily put such fears to rest with a Stijn van Cauter-esque brooding synth assault. Any fans of Until Death Overtakes Me or Dreams Of Dying Stars would enjoy that beginning, as well as the excellent artwork on the inlay.

Unfortunately, that's where the positive comparisons end. As the Ambient side hazily drifted into Funeral Doom, I became a little disappointed. I mean, I have to confess that I was excited to hear this album, being a huge fan of "Space Ambient" type music as well as Funeral Doom, so perhaps that played a part in my disappointment. Nonetheless, I stand by my disappointment on this album because I thought that Funeris were a touch too tame for my liking.

One of the main things that bothered me was the drum sound. The best way I can explain it is to say that it sounded a bit too sharp or punchy for a Funeral Doom release, particularly not one that places a large emphasis on the atmosphere generated, which in this instance relates to space. There's nothing sharp about that visual - it's all rather dreamlike and beautiful - so the "hardened" drum sound seemed out of place to me.

However, it wasn't the only thing that bothered me. Vocally, I thought that Funeris really struggled on 'Baleful Astral Elements'. Seldom did I think that the vocals were shepherding the music; I generally felt like the music was carrying the vocals, and it shouldn't be that way in my opinion. I've yet to work out whether it's the mix that's made it this way or if they vocals aren't particularly good (I'm leaning more toward the mix) but whatever it is, I'm not a fan of the arrangement.

Musically, I thought that the Funeral Doom tracks lacked direction for the most part. 'Through The Vast Cosmic Plains' was an exception as it had a very Skepticism - 'Stormcrowfleet' vibe, and the Thergothon cover was decent too. Interestingly, the Ambient segments were a stark contrast to their Funeral Doom parts because they were trancelike and captivating. In that sense, it's a shame that Funeris opted to juxtapose between the sublime and the average as much as they have on 'Baleful Astral Elements'.

I do get the impression that this band can go to another level, and I would be keen to hear them do that as there were flashes of promise on this album. Unfortunately, they've not done enough on this release because to me, the bad outweighs the good. I've certainly heard worse albums than this but I find it hard to recommend such because of the negatives, which are serious problems rather than pet peeves. After such a prolific spell of releasing albums, perhaps it's time for Funeris to take a step back and re-evaluate what they're doing and how they're doing it because at the moment, they're making better Ambient music than they are Funeral Doom.

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Reviewer's rating: 6/10


Tracklist :
1. Ab Initio
2. Las Fauces Del Cataclismo
3. Through The Vast Cosmic Plains
4. En La Piel De La Eternidad
5. Stellar Abysses
6. Everlasting (Thergothon cover)

Duration : Approx. 57 minutes

Visit the Funeris bandpage.

Reviewed on 2018-09-10 by Ian Morrissey
Thermal Mass
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