If there were a gate, a portal or a chasm in the veil of putrid civilization unto any sort of true Hell it’d without question be a cosmic tear in the center of the Los Angeles, California metropolitan area. Sun-burnt and callous-minded cretins swarm with disdain for one another in nigh constant acts of greed, aggression and they yet persist despite feigned acts of community strengthening the disparity between the wealthy and the struggling poor. Such is the caustic climate housing the chilling cold Scandinavian influenced melodic blackened death metal of Funeral Mortem. This trio of East Los Angeles musicians arrive with meticulous craft in hand, their first demo ‘Misanthropic Majesty’ that’d introduce an authentic study of early to mid-90’s melodic black metal that sprung up in spite of the death metal explosion of late 80’s Sweden.
The most immediate assumption that comes with a glance at the logo and general look of this demo is that it’ll represent the death-to-black metal transition that bands like Dawn, Sacramentum, Dissection, and Unanimated made between 1989 and 1993 but ‘Misanthropic Majesty’ never arrives with such brutal intent. It would be fair to reference ‘Into Infinite Obscurity’ and a clear influence from all methods of Dissection here, in fact the demo is actually dedicated to Jon Nödtveidt and released on the thirteenth anniversary of his suicide circa 2006; The spirit is channeled precisely but not without any unique perspective. I’d additionally point towards Cardinal Sin‘s infamous EP, Eucharist‘s debut, and maybe even a few moments that resemble the first Mörk Gryning record. Early Swedish melodic death metal blasts and a thoughtful mid-paced attack stray from old steadfast norms of mid 90’s Swedish melodic black metal enough to consider this a blackened death metal style and this ends up being to the benefit of Funeral Mortem in terms of distinction. All points considered, ‘Misanthropic Majesty’ sounds like it was written and recorded in a suburb of Göteborg circa 1991.
Khaos magick and the sacred unbecoming of all forms as a point of worship are again subjects pulled heartily from later Dissection and the generally ‘gothic’ and/or romantics inspired prose of early 90’s Swedish melodic extreme metal. The jogging epic heavy swing of “Land of Sin” does bear the mark of ‘Reinkaos’ without actually delving into that traditional form of melodic death metal and speaks to the melodic but still rough edged attack of Funeral Mortem— The violent blackened edges of death metal drive the listening experience as much as the buzzing melodic riffs featured on each of the three tracks. “Into the Black” digs deeper into melodic death than the first two tracks pushing out into the realm of early Unanimated and Eucharist along the way. This ended up being my favorite track on the album for its nigh resemblance of lesser known melodic death band Excretion. Even without a number of specific comparisons to make the highly melodic and slickly arranged nature of ‘Misanthropic Majesty’ gives the impression of a highly skilled and very considered band on this appreciably professional demo recording. Highly recommended. For preview purposes I’d suggest any of the three tracks would provide quick understanding of what this demo is all about but “Opening the Eye of Leviathan” has the most ‘classic’ feeling of induction.
The ether of chaos’ grasp. 3.75/5.0
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