FUNEBRE - Cranial Torment (XTREEM Music - LP 2012)
As they say, Funebre was among the first extreme metal bands in Suomi. They were formed already in 1988 and surely we can put them among the originators of the scene, along with such Abhorrence and Xysma. Sadly they were one of the most shortlived bands also, splitting up already in 1991, just after the release of their only album “Children of the Scorn”. Before that Funebre managed to release “Cranial Torment” demo in 1989, “Brainspoon” EP (which contained two songs from the mentioned demo) and “Demo 1990”. And both these demo tapes have been compiled on black piece of vinyl and released by Xtreem Music in 2012. Cool, I guess, as I always enjoy listening to all those old death metal demos on vinyl or CD. Sadly though this vinyl is quite a disappointment for me. I don’t talk about music value now, but the way Xtreem handled this release, which is just pathetic. I know that all their vinyls have rather poor presentation, sticking just to the basics (cover, insert with the lyrics, no extras at all) and it’s fine, I don’t expect extra fancy vinyls every time and from everyone… but the layout for “Cranial Torment” LP is just below criticism. It looks like it took the label ten minutes to prepare it, so simple it looks and there’s just nothing what would make this release even more worthy and special. There are no lyrics, no archive photos or scans from the old zines, no liner notes… nothing. So, for the presentation of this vinyl I simply give 2/10. It doesn’t deserve more. What rescues it from being thrown away through the window is the music and its great archival value. Other than that, it would just be bad!
The second demo is obviously the one I like the most. It sounds really damn heavy and brutal, with these ultra massive, often totally slow and crushingly HEAVY riffs, with low, guttural vomit… I mean vocals… but with also some faster parts and total dark cryptic rotten aura. There are even some melodic fragments here and there! All in all, one would say that it’s typical, classic death metal demo from those old days and I mean typically Scandinavian, as there are some Swedish bands, which were not far stylistically from Funebre. They were also close to some of their fellow bands like Demigod, Disgrace and Abhorrence, sometimes they also have that doomy, profound sound alike to the early Paradise Lost… All in all, “Demo 1990” is excellent, all three songs are great, but “Expunging Mortalities” and “Grip of Insanity” are especially worthy, very pleasant, rotten and morbid death metal in the heaviest possible way. Classic Finland, nothing more to say!
Then “Cranial Torment” from 1989 is nothing more, but a decent demo. It’s not as good as “Demo 1990” for sure, as it lacks that heaviness and crushing sound, which the following demo has. More so, the songs are rather mediocre, more primitive I suppose, with not as impressive atmosphere, even rawer production (what’s with the drilling bass??) etc. It’s also faster, almost grinding in many parts, like in “Leprophiliac”… There are still some killer fragments like in “Necropolis Discomposure” and “Brainspoon”, which will drill into your head easily and make a brain mousse! But frankly speaking it’s far from being my favourite demo of all time. I bet though that Funebre surely must have made a huge impact with such sick and brutal sounds back in 1989, as they came up with such heavy sound! Nowadays obviously such demo sounds incredibly outdated and archaic, but who cares…
So, two classic death metal demos, but a bad presentation of the vinyl. You choose if it’s worth having or not.
Final rate: 60/100 (low verdict is mainly because of the poor presentation of this LP)