Funeral Mist
Hekatomb

The side (now also virtually a solo) project from Marduk’s Arioch isn’t very prolific. But when he does release an album, the world listens as it usually commands your attention. A 6 year wait lingered between the debut full length Salvation, and its follow Maranantha, and now a 9 year wait for the sudden and unheralded  release of Hekatomb. But like the prior efforts, it’s fucking worth it.

With Marduk’s Devo mastering/engineering and now only assisted by session drummer Lars B (formerly of Marduk), the sulfuric Marduk scent is still lingering in the air, but as with the prior albums, Arioch has taken that back bone and made it a little more atmospheric, unhinged and disturbing.  And as with the last 2 albums, the centerpiece of the vitriolic sound if Arioch’s twisted, pained vocals which add to the already unnerving black metal salvo.

The album actually starts with 2 shorter, more experimental, though till vicious numbers in “In Nomine Domini” and “Naught but Death”  the former with an unnerving, nails on a chalk board main riff and build that’s unsettling and the latter with some cool tribal chants interlacing with the steady militant march. Its these little touches that separate Funeral Mist from Marduk, and keep things slightly more interesting, unpredictable and disconcerting.

But then the album truly unleashes all hell. First with “Shedding Skin” a scorched earth, tremolo picked assault and then the album’s arguable centerpiece the 7+ minute “Cockatrice”. Remember that scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark, when the Nazi guy opens the Ark and his face melts? “Cockatrice” starts playing when he opens it. The opening riff is a literal swarm of bees attacking your tympanic membrane. On steroids, with swords. And PMS. Even with a creepy, late song atmospheric interlude, which then blends with the poisonous blasts for a nightmarish mix.  The track then percussively seams into another 7 minute number “Metamorphosis”, a more patient slow burner with effective use of monk-ish chants.

The short sharp burst off “Within the Without”  brings back the nasty, with a swirling, dare I say ‘unique’ take on black metal riffing then “Hosanna” renders the albums most traditional, Marduk sounding straight up black metal track, with a sneering, searing melody.  The 6 minute “Pallor Mortis” teases the albums endnote the album with typical patience and menace, a moodier, more atmospheric bookend  before exploding and  forth and delivering some sort of feral female child’s screams and shouts that’s truly unsettling- especially in the middle of the night with headphones on….

Once again, Arioch has delivered a landmark album, and arguably what is likely to be one of 2018s most critically acclaimed black metal albums, proving quality over quantity theory.  Funeral Mist continue to be a sheer force in black metal, and if not for output and longevity, out class Marduk.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
July 2nd, 2018

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