Dec 172021

Funeral Mist‘s last album, Hekatomb, dropped in June 2018 without any preview. I rushed to listen to it, and rushed a review into print, more to urge it upon listeners than to give it a carefully considered assessment, especially an assessment that would compare it to the band’s preceding albums.

Well, today NoEvDia released a new Funeral Mist album named Deiform, and I’m basically doing the same thing.

This time I actually received an advance copy, but it wasn’t very much in advance of today’s release and it came at a time when I couldn’t drop everything else (much as I wanted to) and really become immersed in what Arioch had created this time around.

So once again, although I’m providing my immediate impressions of the album, I’m mainly urging people to listen to it, especially year-end list-makers who haven’t finished their lists, because Deiform has the capacity to up-end the process.

Deiform is a substantial release, with seven tracks clocking in at nearly an hour.

Four of those seven are in the nine-minute range and provide ample space for Funeral Mist to maneuver — and there’s a lot of maneuvering to witness within them, and across the album as a whole, which thematically contemplates the nature of divinity and mortal existence.

Those are weighty subjects, and thus “Twilight of the Flesh” provides a suitably grand and dramatic opening.

The initial minutes of the song sound ancient and mystical, combining the wail of reverent choral voices with immense ritual percussion and a backdrop of grinding abrasion. There is solemnity in those sounds, but also a feeling of foreboding and gloom. Arioch’s scarring voice, when it arrives, sounds enraged, a precursor to the outburst that occurs as the track approaches the half-way mark.

The drums fire at a rapid rate, forward in the mix, backed by searing waves of gale-force riffing. They generate a wild, writhing sensation, driving a skirling melody that sounds ecstatic as well as violent (and put me in mind of massed bagpipes). The momentum steadies again; the stately drums return, booming against a wall of grinding guitar distortion; the choral voices soar again.

It’s a magnificent way to open an album, and from there Deiform only continues to transfix your attention in different ways.

Fire-storming chaos ensues in the utterly electrifying “Apokalyptikon”, whose crazed, super-heated riffing turns out to be as infectious as it is fascinating, and the chaos continues in “In Here”, where it’s driven to further heights of derangement by jet-fast percussive assaults and Arioch’s stunningly inflamed and tormented vocals, the full-bore intensity broken only by moments of terrible grandeur and crippling tragedy — and ends in truly wrenching fashion.

Over and over again, to my ears the wildness of the riffing and the leads in Deiform and the occasional timpani-like drums carry elements of medieval folk origin. Other accents, including the female choir in “Children of the Urn”, remind us of the album’s thematic focus by invoking elements of ecclesiastical music — along with a closing sequence in that song which again makes me think of bagpipes, and fiddles. And in keeping with those themes, feelings of grandeur and harrowing turmoil come through over and over again.

The songs flow into each other. Much of the time the music will take your breath away with its speed and fieriness, and the wide-ranging vocals are downright frightening in their relentless, tortured intensity. Even the deep, solemn chants are spine-tingling. Arioch does, thankfully, provide moments for you to catch your breath, as in the haunting opening of the largely mid-paced title track, though that song becomes harrowing in a different, much more mournful, way.

Deiform culminates in “Into Ashes”, which itself begins in haunting, wind-swept fashion but soon enough becomes another shattering, heart-pounding sonic conflagration.

Yes indeed, year-end list-makers, or at least those with an affinity for black metal, will need to reconsider. At first blush, Deiform is a stunning achievement. It also has the hallmarks of an album that will reward continued listening and whose blazing brilliance won’t soon fade.



  5 Responses to “FUNERAL MIST: “DEIFORM””

  1. This is a killer album from beginning to end. A real epic. Can’t get enough of these blast beats !

    We have been spoiled on this 17th, there’s also a new Ustalost out there, and it’s really fine.

  2. Not that I disliked Hekatomb at all, it was killer, but it had some riffs that were confusingly similar to some stuff that Daniel has done in Marduk. Not complaining. However this album is even better, and I’m not hearing any riffs that sound familiar, other than sounding like Funeral Mist. Too soon to say if it will surpass Marantha for me, but this is excellent. I love it.

  3. This is a brilliant album, musically and lyrically too. Hakatomb was too. Funeral Mist really has reconfigured black metal and they stand apart from everyone else. Does any other black metal band sound remotely similar to Funeral Mist? Another band that is pushing black metal to the edges in their own way is the band that helped create black metal in the first place–Mayhem. Their latest album Daemon is outstanding.

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