Black Funeral

One of original US black metal acts, this band has slowly moved from the cold European style to highly conceptual, noise- and industrial-tinged ritual music.
flag of the United States Black Funeral - Az-i-Dahak (2004)
Behemoth Productions

Production: Murky droning production biased toward the high end, like obscure memories from late night riots.

Review: Developing further the ideas of others who wanted to fuse black metal and industrial music, Black Funeral took the template laid out by Beherit and hybridized it with the catchier and more active sounds of later melodic black metal. Like the pulsing music of grindcore band Impetigo, on this album the American black metal band use droning repetition of higher-register sounds in patterns that despite being cadenced hide an internal offbeat, creating an infectious hook independent of the disassociative percussion. It will be called industrial black metal, but a more realistic term is a hybrid of IDM and droning black metal.

1. Druj Nasu (3:43) mp3 sample
2. Daevodata (3:36)
3. Az-I-Dahak (Awake) (5:16)
4. Dahak (Serpent Arise) (3:47) mp3 sample
5. Eye Of Arashk (3:36)
6. Kiss Of Serpents (1:46)
7. Sutekh (Chaos) (3:35) mp3 sample
8. Astovihad (5:46)
9. The Fallen Arise (2:49)
Length: 33:47

Black Funeral - Az-i-Dahak: Black Metal 2004 Behemoth Productions
Copyright © 2004 Behemoth Productions

While the use of a drum machine designed to sound mechanical may violate rules of the metal canon, like Godflesh this album uses the machine sounds to become inhuman and detached. The drum machine marches onward to set a background context with these pocketless, bounceless beats, and within them the guitar leads with patterns that seem erratic until they complement their initial state in order to conclude. The result is otherworldly and suggests a fusion of the biological with the mechanistic, creating an unnerving mood of dominant suspension of reality. Mixed in with this otherworldly is attention to what made Nine Inch Nails and Ministry popular: infectious rhythms, melodic hooks and an obscure, messy sound.

Although few share this opinion, in the ears of this reviewer, Az-i-Dahak is the crowning achievement from Black Funeral. Mystical and ancient sounding keyboards complement a black metal rasp in the midst of the most post-human industrial music ever created, drawing our ears back with a throbbing pulse of drone that evokes a sense of being drawn into an abyss unwillingly. The whole album resembles submersion in the mystical waters of a cenote while a priest chants with obsidian blade raised. For riffcraft and overall presentation as a complete idea, this album trumps all but Beherit in exploring the path of industrial and black metal merged.

BLACK   |   DEATH   |   HEAVY   |   SPEED   |   THRASH   |   GRINDCORE