Thursday, 15 September 2011


This feature was originally posted up on the Terrorizer Magazine website as one of my band of the week blogs in Feburary this year but has been exhumed for your reading pleasure here!

This band have already been in existence for just over a decade, forming in 1999 and unleashing two demos in quick succession upon the unsuspecting underground masses; 'Triumphant Ascent' in 1999 and 'Tombs Of Sleeping Darkness' in 2000. They have continued to gain momentum with each release and have established themselves as one of the leading American underground, old school, death metal bands.

To the uninitiated out there Funebrarum, from New Jersey, play a style of death metal that is deeply indebted to early Swedish, Finnish and European death metal, taking a lot of influence from such bands as early Grave, Abhorrence (pre Amorphis), God Macabre, Crematory, Nihilist, early Entombed, Carnage etc... and there are also similarities to fellow American masters of death such as Incantation and Disciples Of Mockery, especially vocally and riff-wise in places and also Funebrarum have the same ability to create a similar vibe of impending doom just as those bands do, so yeah you get the general idea of what this band is all about!

The band followed up the two demos with their debut full-length offering 'Beneath The Columns Of Abandoned Gods', which sounds like it was recorded in a musty old crypt deep below the dark earth of an abandoned graveyard, lots of reverb laden murky guitar (provided by Nick Orlando, also of cult doom/death band Evoken), rumbling bass (which burrows its way through the grimy guitar murk), very organic sounding drumming (just the way it should be!) and powerful deep guttural growled vokills, courtesy of frontman Daryl Kahan (who is also known for his work with bands such as the Incantation affiliated Disma, NYHC legends Citizens Arrest, USBM band Abazagorath and Taste Of Fear among others).

This album is just a killer piece of crushing rabid morbid as fuck death metal, which definitely brings to mind Incantation in places, as well as having the strong Scandinavian/European Death metal influence.

It's hard to pick out faves on this album but 'Miasma Of Pestilence' stands out for me because of the awesome song-title. But each track is a solid slab of darkness, death, and doom! The album was initially released by long-running American underground death metal Necroharmonic Productions and then re-released by Nuclear War Now! Productions on regular and die hard vinyl. The re-release features tracks from the 'Dormant Hallucination' EP originally released on Midnight Records, featuring cover artwork by none other than legendary death metal artist Dan Seagrave.

When I listen to Funebrarum I just think of darkened old stinking crypts, corpses, overgrown desolate graveyards, which stink of rotting earth and death, creepy old morgues swathed in darkness... the kinda things death metal should evoke, just pure Morbid thoughts! This is gruesome brutality of the most highest calibre.

There was quite a lengthy gap between the first album being released and the follow-up full-length 'The Sleep Of Morbid Dreams' being unleashed via German label Cyclone Empire, this album follows in the same vein as the debut, but they found their feet even more so with this album and started to develop their own style more alongside the already very familiar influence of the old school late '80s/early '90s death metal gods that they worship at the altar of. This recording is a deadly solid slab of death metal, less cavernous and more-in-your-face sounding than its predecessor and is perfect to my ears in every way, from the powerful full production via the killer morbid lyrics and the killer vokills and songs/riffs on offer, 'Grave Reaper' being a particular stand-out for me. This album drags you onto a musical journey through filthy dirty murky hellish soundscapes, and if there was a smell given off by albums when you played them then this album would have the stench of damp graveyard soil drifting out of your stereo speakers!! A monolithic slab of pure morbidness and brutality.

In-between the full length albums, the band also joined forces with reanimated Swedish old school death metallers Interment and the end result was the killer 'Conjuration Of The Sepulchral' split, which saw Funebrarum contribute two cover versions, 'Caught In A Vortex' by cult Finnish band Abhorrence and an absolute RAGING cover of 'Into The Grave' by Grave (which got glowing praise by Jorgen Sandstrom in the comments section of the YouTube video; “couldn't have done a better job myself”, he said!!).

On the other side of the pond Funebrarum, along with bands such as Divine Eve, Incantation, Fatalist, Funerus, Disma, Gravehill etc are leading the charge against the over polished/produced trigger happy tech-deathcore stuff with 3,2848 riffs per song that is being passed off as death metal these days, which in my opinion lacks substance (yes I admit, I have a profound hatred of such music) and these bands are playing death metal the old school way, armed with monstrous riffs, substance and old school attitude aplenty and continuing the fine tradition and the grim aesthetics of earlier death metal bands.

Funebrarum mix up the best elements of old Swedish and Finnish death metal with some Incantation-style American brutality, if that sounds like a great mixture to you then do not hesitate to check these guys out as well as the other death metal beast Disma, where Daryl plays guitar and ex-Incantation growler Craig Pillard takes over main vocal duties, an album is due out later this year via Necroharmonic. Both bands should have unsuspecting fans of old school death metal foaming at the mouth with excitement upon first listen.

In addition to my own words about the band I also recently sent vocalist Daryl some questions and here's what he had to say in reply about the origins of the band, what bands have a profound influence on their music and what to expect from both Funebrarum and Disma in the coming year:

Can you give me a little background info on the band, why you decided to play such a style of death metal, what bands inspired you to form an old school sounding death metal band of your own after being involved with the HC scene mostly for such a long time. Were you heavily into death metal back in the original Citizens Arrest days or was it something you developed a passion for at a later time?
Daryl: "Nick Orlando, Dave Wagner and I all grew up following the evolutions of the underground since the mid-'80s. I discovered punk in 1982 and was lucky to grow up in an area where many older punks, skins and metalheads congregated. I was also heavily into zines and tape trading during this time, which also helped to expose me to many forms of underground music. Each member brings their own musical tastes and experiences to the table which is a great thing.
“Nick Orlando and I met in 1994/95 through our bands Abazagorath and Evoken. Evoken keyboardist, Dario Derna also sang in my band, Abazagorath so we all became good friends. Nick and I discovered our common interest in the old raw death metal demos, specifically the down-tuned bands of the late '80s / early '90s. It was mentioned several times over the years that he and I should form a band and we eventually did. We came up with the name in a pub over many drinks and Funebrarum was born. Shortly after (de)composing our first few songs we recorded them on 4-track with Dario Derna on Drums.
“This recording was released as the 'Triumphant Ascent' demo, which was circulated in limited numbers - 50 copies max. Shortly after the demo recording David Wagner (bassist for Abazagorath) joined Funebrarum on bass along with drummer, Brian Jimenez. With this line-up, the band recorded a second demo a year later which became 'Beneath The Columns Of Abandoned Gods', released by Necroharmonic Productions in 2002. To our surprise the album received an excellent response worldwide.
“A year later we recorded a 7" EP entitled 'Dormant Halluncination' with friend / session drummer, Justin De Torre. This recording was released on Midnight Records and quickly sold out. The band took a break for a few years until 2005 when drummer, Shawn Eldridge joined the band. A second guitarist, Matt Medieros also joined creating the line-up, which recorded the 'Sleep Of Morbid Dreams' album in 2005, released by the German label, Cyclone Empire in 2007.
“The band is currently working on new material for their third album which will be released by Cyclone Empire. Some bands that inspired us: Slayer, Necrovore, Insanity, Death, Possessed, Napalm Death, Autopsy, Both Thrower, Carnage, Crematory, Nihilist, Funebre, Demigod, Macabre End, the list goes on forever.”
You are also in Disma, what is this band currently up to??
Daryl: "We have recorded an EP called 'The Manifestation', which is due out on Necroharmonic Productions. It will be released in April 2011. We also recorded the track 'Of A Past Forlorn' for a split 7" EP with our friends Winterwolf (Finland). This release will be coming out on the Czech label, Doomentia Records. This is coming soon! In the end of February we will enter Sound Spa studios to record our debut album (no title yet) . He have written some great new material for the album and are all looking forward to it. We are also playing at Killtown Deathfest in Denmark in September."
What is currently in the pipeline for Funebrarum, what can we expect from you guys this year?
Daryl: "Funebrarum are preparing for our performance at Maryland Death Fest in Baltimore in May. We also have new material in the works and it's our heaviest and most devastating to date."
You designed the bands logo and some artwork if I am right?
Daryl: "Yes I did. I enjoy drawing and painting and have created our logos as well as both of our album covers. It is something I plan to do more of when time allows.”

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