From album to album the Belgian band Marche Funèbre have marched from strength to further strength, becoming more assured in their songwriting and more expansive in their incorporation of varying ingredients into their core musical framework of doom and death. Through three albums and a small group of shorter works dating back to 2009, they’ve proven their ability to intertwine crushing heaviness, gloomy moods, up-tempo intensity, and distinctive melodies — and to make full use of the striking versatility of Arne Vandenhoeck‘s voice.
What is also evident, and pleasing to fans who have been following Marche Funèbre from the beginning, is that they have evolved, stretching their talents to come up with new and increasingly powerful ways of standing out from the pack of doom/death bands that surround them — not radical revisions, to be sure, but natural changes that suit and strengthen the myriad appeals of their creations.
It is perhaps a measure of the self-confidence that has accumulated over more than a decade of working together that Marche Funèbre have chosen the longest track from their new hour-long album Einderlicht to introduce the record to the public. That song, “When All Is Said“, is the one we’re premiering today through a lyric video in advance of the album’s joint release on September 25th by Hypnotic Dirge Records, Solitude Productions, and The Vinyl Division.
Einderlicht translates as “the light at the end” or “the light of the end”, and the contemplation of the end is the centerpiece of this immensely powerful and haunting new song. Over its course, the music changes in its stylistic accents and in its emotional and sonic intensity, but its core elements make it as intensely memorable as it is emotionally involving.
At the outset, moody guitar picking and slow strummed chords create a meditative moment — which is violently cast away by massive distorted chords, equally massive, grated-edge growls, and a slow mournful melodic lead that becomes the thread that binds the song together. Passion flares in the music as the band reach the chorus, and Arne Vandenhoeck‘s clean singing voice emerges. The turmoil in the music reaches a boiling point through the thunderous rumble of the kick drums, riffing that moves in dense waves, and the soaring sound of the lead guitar, which is both glorious and grief-stricken in its resonance. Vandenhoeck keeps the intensity at a fever level by pitching his voice into tormented blackened shrieks.
The sonic intensity ebbs, but not the emotional intensity. The pace increasingly slows into the trudging momentum of a dirge, and the music becomes sodden with tears as Vandenhoeck roars. The tragic grandeur of the music stands out, and the impact of the words is shattering: “When all is said / When all is done / Nothing remains / But screams into the void”.
The song again cycles through some of the passages that already made such a heavy mark, and in doing so deepens the impressions into more lasting scars of pain and beauty. The band also discharge a physically compulsive sequence of high-intensity chugging. Paired with Vandenhoeck’s singing voice (and his screams), this drives the music to a powerful climax in which we hear one last offering of the melodic guitar refrain that has become such a key part of the song’s haunted heart and soul.
Credit for the lyric video goes to Absynthe Moon Films, and credit for the album’s striking cover art goes to Brooke Shaden. Once again, the band recorded the album with Markus Stock, known for his productions with such bands as Empyrium, the Vision Bleak, Alcest, Secrets of the Moon, and countless more. The band have stated:
The album consists of 6 songs, written between 2016 and 2019. Thematically we focussed on the strange ability of mankind to deliberately decide to end one’s life. The title track ‘Einderlicht’ is also our first song in Dutch.
The record will be released on CD and digitally by Hypnotic Dirge and Solitude Productions, and in an LP edition by The Vinyl Division and Hypnotic Dirge. Pre-orders will be announced in the coming days.
The labels recommend Einderlicht for fans of My Dying Bride, Saturnus, Swallow the Sun, Officium Triste, Mourning Beloveth, and (old) Paradise Lost.
1 – Scarred (9:56)
2 – The Eye of the End (7:11)
3 – When All is Said (11:25)
4 – The Maelstrom Mute (7:03) 5 – Deformed (9:56)
6 – Einderlicht (10:53)