Fvneral Fvkk – Carnal Confessions Review

If there was ever a case of a band’s name totally not fitting their style, we’ve found it here with Fvneral Fvkk. When I see that godawful moniker all I can think of is some lo-fi garage black thrash band that sounds like a demon in a metal trash can getting thrown down steel fire stairs. Luckily, this is not what you get here. Made up of members from Crimson Swan, Ophis and Fäulnis, the band operates under Ghostly aliases, and on their debut full-length they deliver a stunningly effective slab of bleak, despondent doom metal in the vein of Warning and Solitude Aeturnus, with a heavy Woods of Ypres influence making it all the more gloomy and glum. Add an overarching concept about clerical sexual abuse and a uniquely minimalist construction, and you have a piece of music that grips you from the first moment and refuses to let go until the album’s final notes fade away. Beautiful and disturbing in equal measure, this one is something else.

Opener “Chapel of Abuse” hits the ground running with a very effectively stripped down approach. Simple but elegant doom riffs and forlorn vocals dominate the proceedings, accented subtly by restrained melodic flourishes and understated solo work that never deviate from the palpably morose presentation. This is the template the entire album follows. Each song unveils a memorable lead riff and frontman Cantor Cineadicus croons plaintively over the top, with little else to distract the listener save for sparse drum and bass work. In the hands of a lesser band, such a threadbare presentation might feel underwhelming or repetitious, but on tracks like “A Shadow in the Dormitory” and “Alone With the Cross” it creates emotional wrecking balls that leave scars, with the former being a contender for Song o’ the Year.

The band makes their classic doom approach feel liturgical, and the music has a pious, somber bearing, with Cantor’s imposing baritone often taking the form of hymnal-esque chanting.1 This is especially apparent on the excellent “The Hallowed Leech,” but it’s a recurring theme and a very effective one. “Poor Sisters of the Nazareth” reminds me of the doomiest of Paradise Lost’s canon, and Cantor’s delivery is like Nick Holmes with more range and vocal ability. The stark riffs and monotone, eerily chanting vocals are paired at times with the sound of children crying to create something exceptionally disconcerting and difficult to hear. “To Those in the Grave” is like a unexpected return to Woods of Ypres’ final album, which is a sad event to be sure, but a welcome one, and one of the album’s darkest, most striking moments. Every song works exceptionally well and there isn’t a letdown anywhere during Carnal’s 48 minutes. This is the kind of album best experienced as a whole, and even when I first sampled the promo I felt compelled to just let it play out without stopping. That almost never happens.

The individual performances are very impressive. Cantor is a very expressive doom vocalist, conveying despair and pain without sounding melodramatic. His tone and delivery are perfect for the dark mood and his ability to bring his performance into the whole church concept is inspired. As the album crept along he reminded me of the aforementioned Nick Holmes, Solitude Aeturnus’ Rob Lowe, Woods of Ypres’ David Gold, and even Maynnard James Keenan, so he’s clearly in good company. The guitar-work by Decanus Obscaenus is the other linchpin to the band’s otherworldly atmosphere. He keeps things very basic, but his riff-work is uniformly memorable and at times heartrendingly sad, while his subtle flourishes and melodic digressions elevate the material greatly. The whole band is talented, and together they conspire to craft an album’s worth of intensely downbeat doom than moves well beyond mere melancholy into true darkness.

I’m at a loss to think of another doom album that hit me as hard and as fast as Carnal Confessions did, with the only comparable release of any kind being Woods 5. This is the rare doom platter that flies by and ends almost unexpectedly, leaving you wanting more but at the same time relieved to be free of the oppressive mood. It’s beautifully haunting and highly accessible, and it’s hard to find fault with anything the band does, except for that truly ass-tastic name. Jesus, guys! It’s hard to believe something this impressive comes from a side-project, but don’t judge this book by the cover. Ignore the juvenile naming convention and get your hands on this immediately. Serious Album o’ the Year contender right here.

Rating: 4.5/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 256 kbps mp3
Label: Solitude Productions
Websites: fvneralfvkk.de | fvneralfvkk.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/fvneralfvkk
Releases Worldwide: September 27th, 2019

Show 1 footnote

  1. It’s almost like Powerwolf if they were deadly serious instead of schlocky King Diamond wannabes.
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