Box set contains World Funeral (2003), Hearse (single) (2002), World Funeral at Party-San 2003 DVD, and photographic print.
Both CDs recorded and mixed at the Abyss Studio, September and November 2002. Produced by Marduk. Mixed and engineered by Peter Tägtgren. Released on Regain Records.
DVD recorded at Party-San open air metal festival 2003.
I reached for the next disc for this project and pulled from the bottom shelf of my CD bookcase a box. The spine of the box has some kind of pink and black background pattern behind the text; I’m sure it must have faded in the sunlight, but it’s rather out of place beside the front cover which features a crest bearing an eagle clutching a snake on a black background. It feels a little derivative of the Slayer eagle.
Inside the box: one World Funeral (2002) CD, one Hearse (2002) CD single, one World Funeral at Party-San 2003 live DVD, and one CD-size photograph print of two handsome gentlemen resplendent in white corpse make-up pointing shotguns directly at the viewer. Friendly!
I watched the DVD first. In VLC media player the DVD opened with an all-green screen with a darker green rectangle near the bottom, on the right. It turns out this was the menu and I needed to click the darker green ‘button’ to start.
The concert opens with a funereal dirge. Lead singer Legion standing centre stage, arm in the air. The music finishes, Legion yells something blasphemous and off they trot at a galloping pace. Legion barks lyrics into the microphone while gesticulating, ‘windmilling’ his fine, flowing locks and walking in a Robert Trujillo crab-like way across the stage. Yeah…
The music was pretty one dimensional too. I’m not a believer that simply playing something fast and noisily equals heavy. It’s more abrasive than brutal. I think it’s fair to say that this performance didn’t win me over. The bassist’s t-shirt reading “Kill the Christians” did also strike me as a tad un-inclusive and potentially a little off-putting to anyone of faith who may be interested in getting into a little Swedish death metal.
The album is a little better. Certainly the production is clearer, as you would expect from a studio album.
On the whole I much preferred their slower tracks, “Bleached bones” (track 2) and “To the death’s head true” (track 5) were decent enough; particularly the former. “Bleached bones” is a crushing track, the opening riff grinding its way through the first thirty seconds. It has a majestic and dignified feel. By far it’s the stand out track of the whole package, not least the album.
“Castrum doloris” (track 6) leans towards melodic death metal, and “Bloodletting” (track 9) has a bit of a fun bounce to it.
“Blackcrowned” (track 11) begins with a distant, beating drum. An organ plays a funereal dirge until it dies out and the drums take us to the close. It’s a fine ending to a rather disappointing package.
The CD single doesn’t offer terribly much more. “Hearse” appears to be not much more than the album version. The ‘b-side’ is a cover of the Possessed track “Phantasm”, which ironically is probably the second best track in this box set.
I was hoping for must more from such a small collection. I’m sure there are many black metal fans who will love this. And if you want this copy please just say, I’d happily post it to you. But for me there just wasn’t enough.
I can overlook the blasphemous song titles in the name of freedom of speech. But I wonder how much of this was genuinely about exploring ideas through art and expressing personal beliefs and how much was intended to taunt and create controversy. I’m not convinced that a song like “Jesus Christ… sodomized” is offering terribly much to either art or theology. Disappointing.
Review score: 5%