Danish Funeral Doom Metal duo Funeral Chasm was formed in 2020 by Sjaelepest and Danny Woe, both from the Black Metal outfit Above Ravens, out of a combined desire to experiment with slow atmospheric music. In the short time since the band’s inception, they created an EP in 2020 I along with two singles, both of which feature on this latest full length offering, Omniversal Existence, but more about those later.
Funeral Chasm – Omniversal Existence (Aesthetic Death/Independent)
Release Date: 2 July 2021
Words: Jools Green
Omniversal Existence has lyrical themes based on Danny’s personal experience of struggling with insomnia, alongside the anxieties and depression associated with the condition. He candidly explains, “Insomnia is an everyday struggle to live with. I’ve been through the psychiatric system for almost two decades and have learned to deal with the thought patterns that come with a lack of sleep, anxiety and depression being the worst as it affects my decisions around the people I care about.
“When these emotions are peaking, I have learned the most effective way is to break through that loop is to visit my forest cabin with a friend and eat some magic mushrooms, which helps me from spiralling further down into the abyss.
“I have tried to describe these monumental trips in every song and what I have learned through them. Sometimes you just get a nice relaxing visit to another dimension, but other times you can experience deeper knowledge about yourself, often referred to as a ‘bad trip’ or ‘ego death.
“And this is the moment where you listen and get the opportunity to evolve, at least for myself. That is what I have tried to convey in the lyrics, and we arranged the song structure, melodies and moods accordingly.”
Omniversal Existence is an eight-track offering spanning fifty-four minutes if you get the vinyl version. This comes in a beautiful shade of violet and includes a bonus track. Other versions are just seven tracks. The album takes its influences from a broad range of bands such as Fields of the Nephilim, Sisters of Mercy, Celtic Frost, Burzum, Ved Buens Ende, Thergothon and Vangelis.
An immersive experience
Funeral Chasm delivers at a slow, reflective pace that immediately comes across as very relaxing. The album is an engaging listen that engulfs you sufficiently, allowing you to immerse yourself fully within the music, for me, always the key point in a Doom release. Because all the tracks flow together well, it makes the immersive experience all the more attainable.
Given the subjects of inspiration and genre, there is also a bleakness. But there is a very cathartic feel to that bleakness, and there is so much to love about Omniversal Existence. Particularly the vocals, arriving as ‘multiple voices’ from Danny, covering an impressively expansive range from an utterly cavernous ground-shaking growl to a slightly tortuous, often soaring wide-ranging clean delivery with some impressively high octave elements, as well as deeper cleans and whispers in there.
The instrumentation is cleverly restrained, just forming a subtle backdrop for the vocals, but less is more, in this case, all helping to make this a unique Doom release.
Opening on the bleak, sparse and mournfully atmospheric Embellishment Of Inception, echoing with cavernous growls and when the cleans first kicked in, it took me totally by surprise. I was initially not expecting that, but it adds such a powerful dimension to the sound.
The Truth That Never Was is darker with a tortuous edge to the opening scream, which cuts through you, the growls here causing the hair to stand up on the back of the neck. A very powerful and unnerving listen even when the sound pares back briefly. I do like this track immensely, particularly for its unnerving blackened quality.
Mesmerising Clarity is the first of the previously released singles. With its trippy, sparkly sounding keyboard work and echoing growls, the cleans add a floating soaring feel, as does the quiet mid-point section and protracted growls and the dark downturn in the second half with deep acerbic vocals is very unnerving.
Extracting The Flesh From The Gods emerges out of its predecessor. It has a decidedly eerie and mystical otherworld feel to its delivery, assaulting your senses with bursts of those impressively protracted cavernous growls which develop a dark clarity to their delivery as the track concludes.
A feeling of revelation
Sunrise Vertigo is a meld of dirty Black and Doom to open but moves towards the reflective and cavernous as it progresses, and the deep cleans have a haunting gothic feel to their delivery, elevating to an impressively and unbelievably high scream.
The second of the singles released, the slow meandering The Skeleton Secret, continues with the impressive range of voices and the final track for most versions of this release, Astral Reality returns to that sinister but ambient blackened mood, with vocals that build, echo and soar across the duration of the track.
The bonus track Through The Eyes Of The Joyless is only available on vinyl, which is such a beautiful shade of violet it’s worth buying just to admire. Still, it’s also a track worth hearing, especially once it takes a sinister and brutally unnerving downturn becoming dark and terrifyingly compelling but emerging partially out of that “dark tunnel” to the haunting cleans it opened with. But the dark undercurrent persists throughout.
Omniversal Existence definitely gives you a feeling of revelation. A candid insight into the depths of Danny’s mind, it is a powerful, sometimes unnerving, but hugely enjoyable listen end to end.
Omniversal Existence is available as a digital release from https://funeralchasm.bandcamp.com/releases
Violet vinyl can be purchased from https://www.aestheticdeath.com, with CD available from https://www.aestheticdeath.com/releases.php?mode=singleitem&albumid=5102