Funeralopolis – …of Deceit and Utter Madness Review

Though I used to be a die hard death metal junkie, the past few years have found me sampling of it only sparingly, and mostly limited to the melodeath variant. I’m not sure if it’s current events or the need to stay in prolonged lockdown these past few months, but I’ve been on a major death kick of late, spinning heaps of old Suffocation, Incantation and Immolation albums at odd hours.1 This in turn led me to fish for noxious promos suited to my current listening predilection, and that’s where Switzerland’s Funeralopolis come in. Lurking around the scene since 2010, …of Deceit and Utter Madness is their full-length debut and it’s molded in the image of slimy olden acts like Incantation, Autopsy and Grave. There’s an unhealthy obsession with cruelty and early Sodom as well, ensuring enough fetid mold and murk to sound repellent and contagious. Dank, doomy and eerie, this is not a “modern” death metal platter by any stretch. Can this unheralded crew bring something new to this olde, well traveled style?

Not really, but they endevour to do justice to the genre without breaking new burial ground. After the expected creepy intro, lead track “Crawling Caskets” drops the hammer with a slithering, oozing slice of doomy death that approximates the feeling of a lovecraftian tentacle snaking its way insidiously up your leg. The song is brewed exactly the way I like my muck-death and the riffs have the requisite filth and ichor. The vocals are standard old school death roars if just a bit too tame, but the package works well enough. Over the course of the album, Funeralopolis frequently shifts between doomy and faster pummeling tempos, doing a decent job of mixing things up. Both “House of West” and “Witchcraft Horror” lurch between dirge and aggression, though the latter feels a bit sloppy and rough with its frequent shifts, reminding me of primordial Sodom. As such it’s enjoyable in a soupy, messy way, but it’s not going to blow anyone away.

And that brings us to the central issue with …of Deceit and Utter Madness. Though Funeralopolis are competent at this style of old timey death, their compositions are largely generic and overly familiar takes on the genre. Apart from the very entertaining “Crawling Caskets” and later cut “Into Unkown Kadath” which has a weird early Darkthrone charm to its doomy segments, there aren’t a lot of moments that demand replay. It’s not a chore to spin the album, but not a lot of it really sticks or leaves a lasting impression. Cuts like “Devouring Crypts of Darkness” are fine and you’d never tell a friend to turn them off, but you might not ask who it is either.

At just over 38 minutes, …of Deceit is a manageable spin, but certain songs like “The Envenomed King” feel too drawn out despite some amusing In the Sign of Evil-esque escapades. Again, it’s the somewhat generic nature of the songs that causes the problem, as there aren’t a lot of instances where your ears are forced to perk up and focus fully. Invoker of the Ancient Deathtune knows his way around a righteous moniker and a grimy old school riff, and he hits a home run on “Crawling Caskets.” Some other respectable leads snake their way up from the depths as the album unspools, reminding a lot of the early Grave albums, but Invoker’s palette is somewhat limited and the riffs, as well as the songs themselves, tend to bleed into one another without careful contemplation. Frontman Chanting Ghoul of Ravenous Redemption (a bit too much maybe?) provides a decent if unexceptional death roar, but I find myself wishing for a more forceful delivery. He pulls out the odd shout and wail on some cuts, but his style is very rooted in the early days of death metal before the advent of the truly guttural style, and that’s what I’m missing here.

…of Deceit and Utter Madness isn’t a bad OSDM platter, and there are moments of inspired mayhem scattered about, but it ultimately falls short of an essential listen. If you love the old timey style and are jonesing for something new, you’ll get some muddy mileage from what Funeralopolis is laying down. Just don’t expect too much going in.

Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 9 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Memento Mori
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: April 27th, 2020

Show 1 footnote

  1. I’ve been Incantationing and Immolationing so long, even Madam X thinks my mind is gone.
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