Release Year: 2006
Label: Tabu Recordings
Classic doom metal is wrought with tragedy. Whether it’s the loss of a loved one, the pain of watching one’s dreams turn to dust, or just lamenting something that was never there to begin with, great doom metal can be both depressingly cathartic and strangely uplifting in its dirges and sadness. In fact, a series of tragedies would befall a very young doom band from Norway rightfully named Funeral. After two albums, founding bassist/vocalist Einar Fredriksen would take his own life in December of 2003, putting the band on hold for a year until they recruited former Old Man’s Child bassist Frode “Gonde” Forsmo on bass and vocals and a young guitarist and songwriter named Kjetil Ottersen to flesh out the line-up. From the pain of this loss, 2006’s From These Wounds was born, one of the most criminally overlooked doom metal albums of all time, and one that holds up quite well to this day.
Leading in with a choir sample taken from “Lesson III for Maundy Thursday,” “This Barren Skin” lurches forth with solemn beauty. The guitar melodies of Ottersen and Christian Loos play off each other wonderfully, as does the powerfully thundering of founding drummer Anders Eek. However, it’s the soothing vocals of Forsmo’s that holds your attention throughout the song. He doesn’t have the greatest of ranges, strictly adhering to a low, mostly soft baritone, but his harmonies and melodies grab hold of your heart and refuse to let go throughout the song’s eight minute runtime.
There’s not a wasted second throughout the seven tracks (eight if you have the American version). “Red Moon” recalls Turn Loose The Swans-era My Dying Bride, but slower and somehow more somber. “Pendulum” has some of Forsmo’s most delicate vocals in the chorus, sung over a beautiful keyboard melody before crushing you with its smothering atmosphere. The biggest accomplishment, however, is the sheer grandiosity of the title track. The band plays its best hand here, the trump card being the segment from 4:09 through 5:28, where an infectious melody bleeds together with a beautiful vocal harmony by Forsmo. If that part doesn’t move you, you are quite possibly already dead and buried [And if so, thanks for still reading AMG! – Steel Druhm].
The production added a thick fog to the album. Drums feel thick and powerful, the guitars are overdriven to the point of sounding like they’re frying, and Forsmo’s croon is delivered with a graceful sadness. There is a gigantic elephant in the corner, though, and it sits on the lyrics penned by Forsmo. They are delivered with such conviction, but when you have a lyric sheet and you see “And I thank you for the mass/The word of God is coming out of your ass” (“Red Moon”) or “They assisted the demons that brought me down/Now I look and feel like a clown” (“Saturn”), you will probably chuckle like I did when I first heard them.
This would be the last Funeral album that would feature Loos, since he followed Fredriksen to a self-inflicted demise just two months before From The Wounds‘s release in December 2006. Kjetil Ottersen would also depart shortly after, and Frode Forsmo would be relieved of his duties just after the comparatively lackluster 2008 follow-up, As the Light Does the Shadow. Both men are now members of Vestige of Virtue, also featuring former Anathema/My Dying Bride skinsman Shaun Taylor-Steels. Despite the massive line-up shifts, you can’t deny that From These Wounds set such a high bar for doom metal. Do yourself a huge favor, and track down this beast of an album.