The Funeral Pyre
December EP

As much as I like The Funeral Pyre and respect Creator Destructor Records, this stop gap EP reeks of contractual obligation or a favor to the band’s former label. Heck, even the artwork seems rushed and obligatory.

Continuing the sound on 2008s Wounds, the now synthless California black metal act blaze lazily through 5 rather faceless melodic black metal tunes that cull from the likes of Dissection and Naglfar with a bit of a rougher edge. And to me, on these 5 tracks that rougher edge almost comes across as sloppy or even lazy and flat out uninspired. Drummer Alex Hernandez and vocalist John Strachan in particular seem to be going through the motions.

Even the actual material seems rather lacsidasical, if competent, lacking the feral dynamics of Wounds –  the second track “To Walk, To Maintain” and “Frail and Dying” end suddenly like the band just wasn’t sure how to finish the song and quit mid note. There simply is fire or energy except for the passable melody lines in “The Oceans Floor” and “Frail and Dying’. The tracks seem to all blend together into one grey molasses of blast beats and half hearted slicing harmonies that comes across as merely slapped together during one day in the studio.

I hate to rag on a band and label I generally like, but December comes across as nothing more than filler from a promising US black metal band and a label trying to get some material out of The Funeral Pyre after moving to Prosthetic Records.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
April 29th, 2009

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