Review Summary: An underground Japanese funeral doom band with lots of potential.
Every time I think of the Japanese metal scene, I really find it hard to picture Japanese people with long hair, growling and head banging. I think it might have something to do with the already conceived stereotypes of Japanese people I have stored in my brain, and my idea of typical metalheads doesn’t really conform to that of the Japanese. Nonetheless, whenever I listen to any Japanese metal, I’m blown away; bands like Intestine Baalism (who happen to be one of my all-time favourites), Church of Misery and Sigh are just a small number of great bands that are coming out of Japan. Recently I've discovered a thriving doom scene in the midst of all that J-Pop. It's large enough to have attracted German band Worship there for a show, although this may also have something to do with the underground label Weird Truth Productions being based in Japan, who sign a large number of underground doom bands.. And from this I came across Funeral Moth. A funeral doom band formed in 2005, they released a two-track demo, The Moth Flying to the Funeral Sky
, in 2006, which has been re-recorded as an EP and was released earlier this year.
The track ‘Ignorance’ begins with a sinister guitar lead over slow riffing, which is a style the band employs frequently. Rather than a ‘depressive’ approach to the genre like some other doom bands, Funeral Moth take a more aggressive initiative, but not necessarily by making the music heavy. The atmosphere is purely dark and evil, made up in part by the aforementioned lead guitar lines and the vocals. The vocal arrangements are odd to say the least; there are the usual growls, but in the second track ‘Depressive Dawn of a Dismal Misty Day’ faint clean voices can be heard, and the first track makes use of some very unusual sounding vocals. The vocalist in certain instances lets loose a maniacal laugh, which is not exactly as sinister as it may have intended to be, and his growls earlier on are a very unappealing combination of growling and mumbling, and quite frankly sounded ridiculous. Other than this though, the vocals are quite good, with throaty screams and low gutturals.
Production wise the album sounds a little murky. I find a lot of funeral doom bands’ early releases are like this, which is unfortunate, but can’t be helped. Certain bands even try to go for the murky sound, possibly in attempts to mimic Thergothon. The Moth Flying to the Funeral Sky
is definitely not the worst I’ve heard, but I think the re-recorded EP would definitely be a step-up. Both tracks are quite good, and I’m anxious to hear any future releases from the band. Their song structuring is very solid, not leaving any moments in which the listener can get bored, which is becoming all too common in doom. I was very impressed with the soft interlude towards the end of the second track; it reminded me somewhat of a Worship track, and the crash of the cymbal just before the crushing riff comes in was impeccable. To be honest, The Moth Flying to the Funeral Sky
is a good demo, much better than I had expected before listening, and the newly recorded EP most probably patches up any qualms I had with the production. Yet again, more proof that the Japanese scene is as good as it gets.