As to be expected from a band who go by the name of FVNERALS, this isn’t the type of music commonly associated with a summer pool party. As slow as a death procession, as melancholic as saying your final goodbye to a deceased loved one, yet still somehow calming due to its dreary, atmospheric ambiance, the term “beautifully haunting’’ has never been more applicable to any type of music than it has been with the seven chilling soundscapes on sophomore album Wounds. Formed in Brighton in 2013, the trio – which is comprised of Tiffany (vocals/bass), Syd (guitar) and Chris (drums) – relocated to Glasgow following the release of their debut The Path, and they’ve been establishing themselves as a force to be reckoned among doom aficionados ever since.
Latest album, Wounds, was released back in October of last year, and the autumnal season is a fitting time of year for music of this nature – falling leaves, dark nights and eerie calm lends itself perfectly to contemplative doomscapes after all – but good music is good music and can be appreciated all year round. Incorporating elements of doom metal, post-rock, ambient and shoegaze, FVNERALS are a difficult band to categorise, but their music retains cohesion nonetheless, and their non-allegiance to any particular genre gives them creative freedom to explore the dark, cold musical recesses with intrigue.
Proceedings get underway with “Void,’’ an ominous drone instrumental that sets the mood for the bleak, evocative journey that follows. The second track, “Wounds,’’ introduces the ethereal vocals of Tiffany, which adds an almost angelic elegance to a sonic backdrop straight from the abyss. Guitars wail like the cries of forgotten spirits, while there’s just enough crunch to make it feel urgent and oppressive, like creeping dread. “Shivers’’ is pure sorrow infused with distortion, though that’s a quality you could attribute to every track on the album to some extent. While every song boasts its own unique quality, the album does follow the same pattern of slow tempo moody numbers laden with atmosphere. To call any album a journey is cliché these days, but Wounds feels like an excursion into the desolate plains of limbo and conjures up images of Gothic cathedrals and ghostly memories floating in the wind. The standout is “Crown,’’ as Tiffany’s vocals sound sorrowful and hypnotic in the best possible way.
FVNERALS are a band who should be on the radar of all purveyors of the dark arts, and Wounds epitomises how morbidity and beauty can become intertwined. While the album isn’t as traditionally heavy as other doom metal records, it packs an emotional weightiness that won’t soon be forgotten after listening to it. Overall, Wounds is a rewarding listen if you’re willing to let it overtake you, though it’s also a somewhat relaxing and soothing soundtrack to a cold, rainy day.
Wounds is currently available on Bandcamp at https://fvnerals.bandcamp.com/