Rise to the Sky – Every Day, A Funeral Review

I don’t generally like change. Even an objectively positive change to my life—a new job, for example—takes some time to win me over. In music, however, I’m a lot more flexible—I love it when things are different, odd, unexpected. Rise to the Sky, the death-doom metal project from Chile’s Sergio Catalán, appeals strongly to the former impulse. Now releasing his fifth full-length release in three years (and sixth total release in the last two), Rise to the Sky‘s gradual shift away from “death-doom” and into “just-doom” has been little short of glacial. Every Day, A Funeral is, in many ways, exactly what we’ve come to expect from Rise to the Sky, but familiarity is not something I scoff at, and his material has been plenty solid so far. So how does this new one hold up?

I mentioned that it feels like Rise to the Sky is slowly moving away from its death metal influence and finding itself resting more firmly in doom metal territory. In case the name didn’t give it away, Every Day, A Funeral is a relentlessly sad album, leaning heavily towards doom metal tropes. Catalán’s vocals are, as ever, funereal and crushing, his riffs solid, his keys haunting. That’s all still here. But songs like “I Can See You When I Dream,” which opens with a gorgeous, swelling organ, tower over the listener with huge riffs pulling you down slowly but surely into Rise to the Sky‘s own sorrows. Most of this is a matter of pace, but it certainly helps that most of the emphasis in the songwriting and mix rests on strings, keys, and piano—plus a lot of welcome acoustic guitar. This is a great choice, in my view—Catalán’s voice, themes, and ideas suit slow, despairing, and haunting atmospheres very well, and, in the past, focus on endlessly crushing riffs has made his albums feel repetitive.

By slowing things down, on seven tracks over forty-three minutes, Rise to the Sky breathes more comfortably on Every Day, A Funeral than in the past several albums. Often, it feels like Rise to the Sky‘s best releases are EPs, and I’ve been critical in the past of albums that feel like two EPs played back-to-back. Here, working with fewer, longer songs pretty much solves that issue, and every track gets its own notable identity and theme. “Every Day, A Funeral” uses memorable strings to create a sense of journey, while “Just Say Goodbye” builds on acoustic passages to create lasting momentum. One of the best elements for the album’s feel is the addition of Emidio Alexandre Ramos (Colosso) on drums. To the best of my recollection, this is the first Rise to the Sky release to feature a live drummer, and it’s easily their liveliest output as a near-direct result (I mean, just listen to “Sadness Cries in the Silent Sky”). It’s these details that allow Every Day, A Funeral to thrive in its cathartic, grieving atmospheres, with a beautiful sound that only benefits the nuanced songwriting.

If there are criticisms to level against Every Day, A Funeral, they are few, but they are familiar. Having a lyric sheet helps to breathe life into the harsh vocals, which dominate the record, but can’t fully change the fact these breathy roars are part of a very monotone performance. Cleans are very rare, though there are many moments where they might be welcome. Rise to the Sky has already established itself as a project that “gets” atmospheric doom, working in a style that’s hard to describe as anything other than its own. To a lesser extent, this is also true of the ringing, weepy lead guitars, which are less dominant than they’ve been in the past, but still overused slightly, contributing to an occasional feeling of déjà vu throughout the album.

Don’t get the wrong idea, though—the vocals, lead guitars, and everything else about Every Day, A Funeral work together really well. Ultimately, this is one of the stronger additions to the rapidly-expanding catalog of Rise to the Sky albums. It’s meaningful and moving, powerful and subtle, and greatly appeals to my preference for heavy symphonic metal with feeling. As ever, Rise to the Sky keeps me happy to look forward to the next release, which I’m sure will be here sooner than anyone expects.

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Meuse Music Records
Websites: risetothesky.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/RisetotheSkyBand
Releases Worldwide: May 6th, 2022

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