FUNERAL CHANT – Dawn of Annihilation (2021)REVIEW

In sticking with the primal surge of blackened death metal origin Oakland, California-based quartet Funeral Chant manage to plant themselves in mind not only for the spectacle of their decisive riffcraft but for the inspired demo tape-level ferality of their morbid death metal attack. “Death, darkness and evil” is as complex as their collective inspiration needs to be in conjure of ‘Dawn of Annihilation‘ yet there is great precedence for and lineage available to this specific style of frayed and burnt-edged craft. Expect a series of leaps and bounds made beyond their self-titled EP (‘Funeral Chant‘, 2017).

The pure death metal side of Funeral Chant blends late 80’s Floridian death metal’s high-rate riff standards with cutting edge classicist ideation out of Europe and South America since. The riff-focused destruction of the first Kaamos (Sweden) record, the maniac predatorial aggression of Degial and the thrashing/blasting command of Mortem (Peru) come to mind but ‘Dawn of Annihilation’ has its own feral blackened-death attribute when it comes time to brood and decompress. “Xenophonic Transmission” represents the most notable separation of the two sub-genre lobes and ends up being one of the most memorable pieces on the album for the psychedelic slow walk it takes to its conclusion, a ‘Necrovation’-esque moment if I’ve ever heard one. This is just one of a couple blips on the radar, though, which serve as irregularly scheduled respite between their elite-standard bestial riff attack which should impress in terms of classic death metal riffcraft.

Much as I’d like to corner ‘Dawn of Annihilation’ as a puritanical death metal storm due to the technical proficiency of the guitar work and relative clarity of the rhythm section, we are talking about Verminous levels of extremity across the board here, but the blackened affect of Funeral Chant‘s sound does eventually come in clutch when the spectacle of the razor-cut riffs starts to wane. The maze presented by Doom of Old and Voidbringer never becomes as technical or blackened as something like Omegavortex though it is nearly as frantically presented; There is a surprising level of sophistication in the composition of the riffs themselves, often resorting to Angelcorpse-level ruthlessness (“Terrorspawn”, “Pernicious Rites”, “Dawn of Annihilation”) to hammer their point home. It is just the right bedfellow for the frayed black metal furor which drives Funeral Chant‘s style and attack determinedly here, something I’d felt was missing on their debut EP. You’ve gotten the point, then, that rhythm guitar obsessives will appreciate the pairing of athletic skill with classicist craft.

In terms of maniac energy and instantly spectacular aggression no question that ‘Dawn of Annihilation’ will impress up front and continue to thrill in small doses. As a listening experience it whips past quickly at ~34 minutes but the density of the experience will demand a hundred more listens if this is your gig. It is my kind of record but I gotta say Funeral Chant have teased in a couple of pieces (“Xenophonic Transmission”, “Dawn of Annihilation”) that have me almost more excited for what they’ll manage in another handful of years cracking away at their craft. As is, this is a rush of blood to the skull that I’d needed as this month kicked off and ‘Dawn of Annihilation’ will hold fast in memory for the sake of its sheer goddamned attack. A high recommendation.

High recommendation. (79/100)

Rating: 8 out of 10.
TITLE:Dawn of Annihilation
LABEL(S):Carbonized Records
RELEASE DATE:November 1st, 2021
BUY & LISTEN:Bandcamp
GENRE(S):Death Metal

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