Funeral Mist explode back with chaotic black metal ferocity on mentally devastating ‘Hekatomb’

It’s not easy to rein in true chaos, especially when it’s made by someone who knows the medium quite well. It’s better, then, to stand aside and watch the madness unfold, trying to keep yourself out of harm’s way so that you’re not physically overcome by the immense and morbid power.

That’s a sense I always get when taking on anything from Funeral Mist, which carries over into the beast’s latest and third record “Hekatomb.” This is the one-man project of Arioch, who also is at the helm of long-running black metal power Marduk under the name Mortuus (the band coincidentally also has a new record out in the form of “Viktoria” that you can get via Century Media. It’s … OK). Over the course of 25 years, Arioch has shed members until it all came down to him and also put out some of the most devastating and fascinating records in all of black metal, his latest one included. It certainly differs sonically from 2009’s awesome “Maranatha,” and it slices and chews its way into your chest like a runaway chainsaw. Over the course of eight tracks and 43 minutes, Arioch goes for relentless, mesmerizing, and violent black metal that sounds fresh, inspired, and absolutely bloodthirsty.

“In Nomine Domini” begins with battle cries before guitars slink over the eerie silence, and a prodding bassline accompanies it. Then it bursts, sending blood and guts in your mouth, while wild cries and panic are unleashed, and guitars chug away. A voice cries out in a crowd, as the song gets heavier and more maniacal, and eventually the cut scrapes out on that naked guitar line. “Naught But Death” has a wall of chants behind the madness, while Arioch snarls his way through with monstrous growls. Chants pick up as the guitars bleed along, while screams add an exclamation point before an abrupt end. “Shedding Skin” is off to the races right away, as a delirious riff and crazed howls of, “Here is your Messiah, worship it!” pound you in the chest. Hellish riffs arrive from there, as the song spirals and sickens on its departure. “Cockatrice” has miasmic panic, as cold, hypnotic keys create an icy shadow, and then the guitars go for your throat. The pace chars, while the keys add coolness to the horrible burns before all is swallowed into the belly of a black hole.

“Metamorphosis” is led in by aggressive drumming before guitars ramp up, and speed becomes a factor. Later, things are pulled back, as a chilling, pastoral chorus sweeps in before piercing cries penetrate the darkness. Again, violence smashes into calm, choral chants return, and all ends in a warbling storm. “Within the Without” is insanity, as the tempo goes off the rails, and a brief period of calm is signaled by a chime before hell returns again. Grisly growls and a thunderous start bring havoc before the track ends in a neck jerk. “Hosanna” has guitars rifling before its body is torn apart, as harsh growls tumble, and the music obliterates the senses. Gurgling cries and a reckless pace lead to a face-destroying crash. “Pallor Mortis” closes the coffin with a slow-driving crawl, with guitar haze coating your face, and the growls cutting through to the bone. At one point, a kid’s voice can be heard yelling (same voice as Marduk’s “Werwolf” from their new one?) before the bewildering assault continues. Everything pelts down with force, pushing you to your limit before it finally fades away.

Funeral Mist may be just what we need in these times when the chaos around us is caused by other people and corrupt governments who have never been more out for themselves. “Hekatomb” definitely won’t bring you peace of mind, and it’ll do fuck-all for your anxiety, but it also might give you a glimpse into a different, more all-encompassing type of darkness. This is brutal, harsh reality served to you on the edge of a bloody blade.

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