FUNERUS - Reduced to Sludge (IBEX MOON - CD 2011)
I must admit that although I knew quite much about Funerus and have read some interviews with the band (obviously the fact that this is the band of McEntee family was not a secret for me… I’ve found out also that none of them were the members of the band back in the early 90’s, when Funerus recorded two demo tapes), I just never had a chance to listen to their debut album, “Festering Earth”. I missed my chance to purchase a copy several times and later, when I finally wanted to do so there were no copies available anywhere. Fuckin irony… So, I definitely didn’t want the same to happen with the second album, “Reduced to Sludge”, and so I got my copy as soon as some have appeared in the distros, where I usually buy my vinyl and CD. Well, I wish I could have “Reduced to Sludge” on vinyl actually, but since there’re no plans to release one at the moment, I am happy to have the CD. And I must also admit that “Reduced to Sludge” turned out to be just exactly as I wished it to be – an excellent, totally devastating piece of old styled death metal. While listening to it, I have nothing to wish for, than just bang my head in frenzy and let those mammoth riffs turn everything around me into dust, so damn heavy this album is.
The main strength of “Reduced to Sludge” is in the riffs. I don’t know if it’s Jill or John, who wrote this material, but damn – those riffs are just excellent. They’re all brutal as fuck, very heavy and massive and Funerus plays most of their material in slow, sometimes almost doomy tempo, but do not avoid cutting some throats with uncompromising, faster parts… What I really like though about the whole material from “Reduced to Sludge” is how memorable and catchy, how incredibly infectious those riffs are. I mean once I hear such tunes as “Death of a God” or “The Comfort in Depression”, then there’s no way back and I just need to growl with Jill and bang my head to every damn note they play. I didn’t really realize how strong this material is until I actually have heard it. You know, I worship Incantation just like everybody else, but I dare to say that “Reduced to Sludge” is really much better than some of the last full lengths from Incantation! Yeah, I know it sounds like a hypocrisy and I am not saying that I don’t like “Primordial Damnation” or “Blasphemy” – they’re very good albums, but none of them has affected and massacred me as much as “Reduced to Sludge” did. This is very powerful album, 100% death metal and I find it as almost perfect. The production is just amazing, very energetic, very aggressive and relatively clean for this sort of playing and I must also admit that while I had no idea what to expect from Jill’s performance, once I have heard her voice I must consider her to be the best female death metal vocalist ever! Of corpse no one need to agree with this and there will probably be many, who will say it’s Lori Bravo or Sharon Bascovsky better, but my feeling at the moment is that Mrs McEntee has done the best work as the female death metal growler ever.
So, you can see that I feel a lot of passion and enthusiasm for “Reduced to Sludge”. It is one of those albums that stick with you once you hear them. There’s no need for mathematic explanations to find out how many riffs Funerus play per song, how times they break the speed of light or whatever. This is pure old school death metal and I must recommend it totally to all those, who enjoy being putrefied by the sounds of Incantation (obviously), a bit of Bolt Thrower and Obituary but maybe even more by the good old Asphyx, whose influence is quite big I think. Whatever… Oh, by the way, really cool front artwork! “Let them eat sludge!”.
Standout tracks: “Death of a God”, “The Comfort in Depression”, “Reduced to Sludge”
Final rate: 90/100