Funerary Call – Nightside Emanations CD Malignant Records 2012
When approaching the review of this album, it dawned upon me that I have known about Funerary Call since around 1998 when I read their interview in Heresy Magazine, but for no particular reason have never got around to investigating their works in depth (of which six albums have been released in that time span). I must admit that the folly of this was evident from the moment I listened to the recently issued ‘Nightside Emanations’.
Incidentally what first provoked my interest in this album was the artwork – a wonderfully archaic and occult infused painting by Russian artist Denis Forkas, which calls to mind the works of Austin Osman Spare, but at the same time has a clear stylistic slant of its own. Likewise given that the album has been pressed as a DVD sized case the artwork is far more stunning in actual form than as an on screen thumbnail, and based on the quality of the artworks and presentation, it is releases like this which REQUIRES and DEMANDS a proper physical release.
Darkened gloom illuminated by flickering candle light – bone, ash, feather and claw strewn alter – tendrils of incense smoke slowing rising from burnt offerings – shadow shapes lurking at the periphery of ones vision – these are just some of the images emerging in the mind’s eye when immersing oneself in this album’s spectral aura. With it use of an array of organic instruments (chimes, wood blocks, singing bowls etc) the album it inhabits a ritualistic organic aura not too far from the fields ploughed by a number of the Aural Hypnox label collective (Halo Manash, Arktau Eos etc), yet this does have a darker and more occult streak to its archaic ambience. As with most ritualistic ambient material space and depth play an important role in creating a cavernous aura, where echoes tones ring out, build and fade. ‘Thee I Invoke’ is a particularly focused track which brings to mind early era Archon Satani, with its slow, heavy, pounding, echoed beat, background drones and whispered vocal invocations. Alternately ‘The Calling’ is more sparse and distant with the call / response of wailing horns, and sparse disharmonic string scraping sounds. Final album track ‘Upon the Heath’ again reveals a ritualised aura, containing sustained droning layers, slow tribal bass pounding beat, and garbled / chanted vocals. Ominous and heavy in tone, it is a great album conclusion. Noting this is my first proper introduction to Funerary Call, based on the strength of this album I will be definitely tracking down other Funerary Calls offerings.