Funeral Mist - Maranatha
Norma Evangelium Diaboli
Black Metal
8 songs (53:33)
Release year: 2009
Funeral Mist, Norma Evangelium Diaboli
Reviewed by Charles
Album of the month
Funeral Mist’s first album, Salvation, received pretty extravagant praise at this website, being awarded a score of 98/100. Whilst I personally cannot imagine how incredible a record would have to be to deserve a score that high, it is easy to see how the album had the effect it did on those admirers of the dark arts of black metal that were attentive enough to catch it. Despite being at times almost overwhelmingly fast and brutal, the riffs and musical ideas were concise, immediate and memorable. The sound of the record was immensely violent, with rasping, demonic vocals being perfectly supported by relentlessly densely-packed guitar parts, straying delightfully close to the realms of pure noise, as much of the best black metal should. The compositions were uncharacteristically varied for this type of music, and liberally-used non-musical samples were atmospheric rather than hammy.

That was released in 2003, six years ago. I’m not quite sure what the band was doing during this time, although it seems to have been reduced to a one-man project. But it picks up where Salvation left off with no let-up in quality. If anything, the sound is perhaps a little harsher and more bludgeoning, to my ears. Opener, Sword of Faith gives you a pretty good idea of what to expect, to an extent. It twists and turns rapidly through new riffs, which hit you and are then discarded, but not before they have left a jagged scar across your eardrums. The second half of the track rages with an intensity that requires hearing (when it first emerges reminds me of Dick Dale song off the Pulp Fiction soundtrack, for some reason). But this blueprint is strayed from regularly whilst always being returned to.

In fact, the restlessness of some of the compositions reminds me a little of the last Taake record, especially given their propensity for allowing the sound to collapse in on itself to pause for breath as a means of segueing between ideas. But the difference in quality is very noticeable. New ideas here emerge because they are dreamt up and demand to be heard, rather than as a means of expanding the track lengths as it seemed on Hoest’s latest effort. There is also a real capacity for weirdness.White Stone is composed almost entirely of clunking stop-start guitar thuds, demonstrating a musical sense of humour that really catches you off guard, and an experimental instinct comparable to that on Mayhem's very underrated Chimera. This comes across again in Blessed Curse, as cleanly yelled vocals rant away behind a hypnotic mid-tempo veil in a manner reminiscent of Maniac’s performance on A Grand Declaration of War. A New Light is another example of the will to experiment whilst remaining in a blacker-than-black framework, as a curious and simplistic bassline overlaid by odd choral female vocals eventually gives way to a devastating and complex riff whirlwind that could come from a Deathspell Omega record.

I had almost entirely forgotten about this band, I must admit, until I noticed the emergence of this record. Maranatha is excellent, and invigorating listening for devotees of no holds barred black metal who may have been slightly disappointed by recent efforts by comparable bands such as Behexen or the aforementioned Taake (e.g. myself). There will be devotees that already know they will love this, but it also comes highly recommended for anybody that thinks fast and raw black metal’s best days are behind it but wants to be told otherwise.

Killing Songs :
Sword of Faith, Jesus Saves!, A New Light
Charles quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Funeral Mist that we have reviewed:
Funeral Mist - Hekatomb reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
Funeral Mist - Salvation reviewed by Daniel and quoted 98 / 100
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