Back in June, the mighty war machine that is Marduk released their fourteenth full-length album in twice as many years. And, to no one’s surprise, Viktoria received mixed reviews. Those that love the band, loved it. Those that hate the band, hated it. And others forfeited listening to it and, logically, hated it anyway. But what’s interesting about Angry Metal Guy’s Viktoria review was its comments.1 In them, you wily sonsabitches raved on and on about the newest release from vocalist, Mortuus2—incidentally having come out one week before Viktoria. And now, the wait is over.3 Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Funeral Mist‘s Hekatomb.
With only two releases to its name, this one-man outfit has quite the kvlt following. In 2003, the band (or man?) released a debut of unsettling choral chants, creepy film clips, and one of the most uncomfortable vibes of any black metal record I’ve ever heard. Not only was it the introduction to the band, but it was also the introduction to the man behind it.4 The 2009 follow-up, Marantha, continued to push the envelope5—increasing the riff-count and introducing more atmospheric textures. Now, nearly a decade later, Hekatomb stands as the third installment of the trilogy. It’s as vicious as Salvation and as epic as Marantha—the perfect combination for the finale of any trilogy.
In classic Funeral Mist form, you don’t know shit about what’s gonna hit you until it’s too late. Case-in-point: opener “In Nomine Domini.” It unleashes filthy fretboard slides and headbangable chugs that pair classic Scandinavian black metal with thrashy interludes. The riffs are as violent as an earthquake, yet focus on the task at hand. But, Arioch’s vocals are not. In Marduk, he’s calculated and controlled. In Funeral Mist, he’s unhinged and animalistic. A technique magnified on “Shedding Skin.” This track borrows the aggression from the opener, enveloping it in a barrage of lightning-fast 1349 riffage and vocals that give no-fucks about you or your eardrums.
Then begins the album’s transition into the more epic and more melodic. Now, don’t get me wrong, “Cockatrice” ain’t a snoozer or navel-gazer. That’s made clear in its first-half of Mayhem-sized riffage. But, after fading away around the 4:00 mark, the song’s eerie effects and windy landscapes signal a transformation for the album. The closing cymbal crashes and bass/snare hits bring about a true “Metamorphosis”—revealing a song stricken with mid-paced blackness, emotional choral chants, and some of the rawest barks, gurgles, and shrieks on the disc. Yet, this is only the beginning. “Hosanna” and closer “Pallor Mortis” take hold of you and drag you deeper into the mist. The former is as fast and heavy as any on the album, but its build is also the grandest. Which doesn’t seem possible with a mere four-and-a-half-minute runtime. The closer takes the reins from its predecessor, mixing in starch to achieve the consistency to day-old blood. It’s pure hate, pure emotion, and its spoken-word midsection is purely unsettling.
Hekatomb succeeds Marantha as perfect as Marantha succeeds Salvation. It’s fast, heavy, aggressive, and unapologetic. Though there’s no mystery to the outcome of an album like this, Hekatomb feels fresher, more passionate, and more spontaneous than most traditional black metal records of 2018. So, join the hype and let us celebrate the grandest hekatomb of them all.
Tracks to check out: “In Nomine Domini,” “Cockatrice,” and “Hosanna”