Chocolate and peanut butter. Cheese and crackers. One-person black metal and January. Some things just naturally pair up beautifully together1. What normally doesn’t pair up too well? Funeral doom and brevity. So imagine my shock when I got assigned a two-song, 30-minute EP featuring two of the scene’s leading exports, UK’s Eye of Solitude and Belgium’s Marche Funèbre, and finding out that the EP’s just a hair over a lunch break long! And what makes it even better? It’s pretty damn good! Granted, we at Angry Metal Guy Unlimited (Turbo Hyper-Fighting Edition) try our best to not do track-by-track breakdowns, but there’s only two here, so it’s unavoidable.
Up first, Eye of Solitude‘s “Collapse” takes its time, building up roughly four minutes worth of ambient arpeggios, mournful moans, and other atmospheric tropes before Daniel Neagoe’s trademark growl cuts through at four and a half minutes. From there, the song retains a steady, plodding rhythm throughout, with guitarist Steffan Gough’s somber melody at 7:56, and Neagoe’s wailing at 10:13 providing the song some extra sorrow. By the time the keyboards slowly fade out towards the end, you are left drained and satisfied. The atmosphere brought on by the production aids this, as the mix lends a suffocating air while retaining enough clarity to cut through the fog. Easily one of the band’s strongest offerings to date.
Following that, Marche Funèbre‘s contribution, “Darkness,” starts off promisingly. Arne Vandenhoeck croons, moans, howls, and screeches maniacally throughout the song’s duration, with Kurt Blommé and Peter Egberghs riffing behind him. The problem lies with the lack of variety, as unlike their British companions, Marche Funèbre‘s repetition of riffs aren’t as effective, as the lack of build-up hampers things a bit until the second half of the song, where Vandenhoeck unhinges his delivery. Not a bad song, just not as effective as Eye of Solitude‘s contribution. Production-wise, though, Marche comes out ahead, as their bass is punchier and the drums more thunderous.
While funeral doom may not be for all of us, Collapse/Darkness serves as an excellent jumping-on point for two of the scene’s notable bands. “Darkness” is my first experience with Marche Funèbre, while “Collapse” adds yet another battered feather in the well-worn-and-trusty cap for Eye of Solitude. Both bands deserve to have their respective discographies explored, and I can’t think of a better launchpad than on here. Good work!
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Labels: Hypnotic Dirge Records | Cimmerian Shade Recordings
Websites: eyeofsolitude.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/eyeofsolitudeband | facebook.com/MarcheFunebreDoom
Releases Worldwide: February 22nd, 2018