Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Funerus - Reduced To Sludge

Reduced To Sludge
Ibex Moon Records

After announcing their return to the scene with a new track (‘Reduced To Sludge’) featuring on the ‘Afterparty Massacre (Death Metal Soundtrack)’ last year, long running Pennsylvania/New York based death act Funerus have finally broken an eight year drought with a new full-length release ‘Reduced To Sludge’. With their debut effort ‘Festering Earth’ released way back in 2003 (Again, through Ibex Moon Records), it’s no surprise to see the band’s line-up get shaken up a little. Of course, bassist/group founder Jill McEntee is still a guiding force within the band, but has since taken over the vocal duties alongside Incantation guitarist/mastermind John McEntee following the departure of Brad Heiple, who bailed soon after the release of their debut. In recent years, Funerus also parted ways with drummer Kyle Severn too, with Sam Inzerra (Ex-Morpheus Descends/Generation Kill) taking over the drum seat. So with eight years between releases, it’s logical to ask just how much Funerus has changed in the musical sense between releases. But if the truth be told, you would be hard pressed to know that years have passed since the release of their debut, because ‘Reduced To Sludge’ virtually picks up exactly where the band last left things.
The opening track ‘Behind The Door’ immediately lets you know what you can expect for the next thirty-four minutes, and that’s early ‘90’s death metal in the vein of Bolt Thrower, Asphyx, Hail Of Bullets, Obituary and of course, Incantation. On ‘Behind The Door’, Funerus don’t resort to any unnecessary extras to deliver their brutal brand of death metal. Instead, the riffs are kept fairly simple and straightforward, the bass is loud and clear in the mix throughout to give the band a full sound (Courtesy of Dan Swanö, who mixed and mastered the album) and a constant undercurrent of drumming that really adds to the band’s overall assaulting sound. Funerus’ song writing is neither complex nor challenging, but it is engaging and solid enough to ensure that the songs remain memorable and diverse enough over the course of the entire album.
In terms of favourites, the continual onslaught of ‘The Comfort In Depression’, the previously released title track ‘Reduced To Sludge’, the doom/death-like undertone of ‘Death Of A God’, the rather short ‘Sound Of Oil’ (Which is perhaps the complex sounding of tracks on the album) and the slow and crushing closer ‘E. Histolytica’ are the definite stand out cuts on the album.
‘Reduced To Sludge’ isn’t the kind of album that reinvents the death metal genre, nor is it an album that will appeal to those who only enjoy modern death metal. Funerus is an old school death metal act, and unashamedly so. And as long you know what you’re in for, you’ll find plenty to enjoy within ‘Reduced To Sludge’.

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© Justin Donnelly