Funearl Mist - Maranatha: help the continued slandering of this soulless and mechanical album
Many people have high hopes for this release because they believe that if they support all metal, metal will be strong. I'm from the opposite camp, which says you should call a spade a spade, and by weeding out the bad metal, you'll make metal stronger.
This CD is like a Roman prostitute: she puts on all the makeup she can, uses every trick in the book, and knows how to act sexy, but at the end of the day she's a fattish peasant girl with syphilis and you should avoid her. "Maranatha" fails in two crucial ways: (a) artistically, it has nothing to communicate; (b) stylistically, it's an attempt to integrate the last 30 years of rock and metal into black metal -- a sort of "black nu-metal."
Since it's easier to communicate, we'll start with the style. A Summoning-style melodic black metal riff rises, repeats, and then we launch into an updated version of later Gorefest -- really rigid, percussion-heavy death metal riffs -- before diving into the main riff, a hybrid of Ministry and Pantera that rides a bouncy rhythm with a muted strum. This pattern repeats in every song, with frequent interruptions for "important" pauses and vocal interludes; the different pieces vary, but they are thrown together at random, and this is one reason why these songs resemble later Dimmu Borgir: they're carnival music that tries to distract you by being outlandish so you don't notice there's no agenda, nothing poetic or even nifty to communicate.
That brings us to artistic substance. While old black metal seemed to dominate with new technique, that was quite wrong -- all of its technique predated it. What it did was create a language for a certain type of feeling, and the psychological and philosophical revelations required to be ready for that feeling appearing within oneself. As a result, there was something to communicate: the importance of fantasy, the poignant joy of winter which is both life and death, the lust for struggle, and the loneliness of facing mortality alone. There was poetry in that: it converted the mix of good and bad that life is into the beautiful by maintaining focus on its mechanical utility in maintaining the cyclic process of life itself.
What does Funeral Mist have along these lines? Nothing. These are songs for their own sake, meaning that they communicate nothing except membership in a style and the desire to be a variation of that style. They are songs about being black metal songs, in a band that's essentially writing black metal "from the outside looking in," meaning that they understand the technique and aesthetic but not the substance and poetry of classic black metal.
As a result, this CD is two things: distracting noise, and hollow art. It is as fake as a Hallmark card, as contrived as Britney Spears, as hokey as Pink Lady. It is distracting like Cradle of Filth -- the originator of the "carnival black nu-metal" style -- and as motivated by an ethic of convenience as a Roman whore. People will pretend to like it because it's later Dimmu Borgir dressed up in true kvlty clothing, but at its core, this album is devoid of meaning or particular musical recommendation.
Hollow, soulless, mechanical, commercialized, distracting, and pointless: this album is the face of the entropy that destroys everything good in life. Slander it in all ways possible, speak the truth of its emptiness, and make people aware that it's OK to buck a trend and point out that it sucks.