Review Summary: A seminal doom album.
Oh how far they’ve come. After having listened to the latest Funeral album several times in order to review it, Tragedies
seems an eon away. Before they became rather mediocre, Funeral were a funeral doom band, obviously, and are considered by some as one of the pioneering acts of funeral doom. On top of that, their influence on the whole ‘gothic’ genre is profound; the melodic nature of Tragedies
-era Funeral’s sound, coupled with the extensive use of operatic vocals, was relatively ahead of its time. What can I say about the album" Opener ‘Taarene’ opens slowly with a soft, acoustic ditty, before the fuzzy guitars flood the scene and the album lurches to a start. The track is an excellent way to begin, and one of the strongest points of the album. Unfortunately, later tracks become somewhat dreary, but the very satisfactory formula the band use on the album remains constant and as a whole, the album is outstanding.
A graceful sense of control is exhibited on Tragedies
; every note and melody feels in place, and fluidly winds through the entire album. Acoustic interludes are sprinkled throughout the 5 tracks, and further the finesse and grandeur of the album. There is a rustic feel to it, greatly contributed to by the production, which is typical of its time. A great portion of the album’s strength is derived from the interplay between the two vocalists; the morose operatic vocals are spectacular alongside the gutturals. Unfortunately, the gutturals did feel a bit weak at some points, but this certainly didn’t detract from the album; moments like when we’re first introduced to them a little bit into ‘Taarene’ sound absolutely crushing. What probably makes the album is definitely its direction of melody; there is an absence of really heavy moments on Tragedies
, in favour of a more despondent and bleak vibe. Ultimately, this is what separates this album from the doom of the mid-90s, leaving it not only as a superb doom album, but also a highly influential one.
Funeral try their very best to keep Tragedies
fresh during its one hour length, but admittedly some parts drag a little. In an environment where you’re completely absorbed into the album, it probably doesn’t make that much of a difference, but the latter half of the album, more notably ‘When Nightfall Clasps’, feels noticeably bloated and somewhat undermines the album’s full effect. Funeral realize this and minimize the monotony a great deal with some interesting and rather favorable choices; several tracks contain lead guitar breaks, not exactly as you would expect seeing as this is a doom album, but they are executed rather well. The best example can be found on the track ‘Taarene’, which as mentioned before, is arguably the album’s strongest point. Tragedies
, simply put, is a great album to listen to. It’s melancholic, melodic and very cohesive; one of those albums that was, and still is, considered a ‘great’ in regards to doom. As much as they’ve gone downhill now, Tragedies
is a seminal doom album, and exemplifies the usual tenets of the genre superbly. Highly recommended.