Faustcoven - Hellfire And Funeral Bells

This right here is a mix of black and traditional and old doom metal. That's what makes Faustcoven unique. Both of these genres are inspired by the more old and classical idols and thrown into a very satisfying mix. How often do I hear something that reminds me of heavier Pentagram songs mixed with earliest black metal installments, such as by Darkthrone?

Let's get to the picture that Hellfire and Funeral Bells paints. It is mysterious. The music's dark in both its message and atmosphere. It's very unusual in its compositions: The slow heavy riffs appear lazy, relaxing and crushing at the same time. I find the music strangely passive but stimulating and inspiring, which is an experience I don't hear very often within heavy metal. It's easy to float away somewhere else when listening to this album. Faustcoven is one of those bands that shine in creating an atmosphere and a world of its own, which you can get lost in. This immersive quality of Hellfire And Funeral Bells seems to take me away to a hot hellish place, an ancient graveyard or a dungeon with dark and devilish phenomena lurking all over the place. Once you open up to the music, they will guide you through their world lead by heavy riffs, dark haunting echoing vocals, and possibly my favorite part: the solos. I want to pay special attention to the first track of the album, also called "Hellfire And Funeral Bells" which has one of the most convincing atmospheric and chilling guitar solos I have ever heard. And this is exactly why I find the album unique: not often do I hear extreme black metal with guitar solos taken from what might as well be something heavy from 70's.

This album is good at showing contrasts. Not only is there a mix of slow traditional doom and quick and piercing black metal, but the atmosphere told through the music itself stands out. It's like a freezing snowstorm meeting scorching infernal fires of Hell. Or if you ever played Magic The Gathering, it's like mixing black and white mana cards, where you get all sorts of twisted devilish beings creeping around. The music's strangely warm and cold at the same time.

I consider myself lucky, because I actually discovered Faustcoven when Gunnar, the mastermind behind it, was operating on demo levels. Back then he used a drum machine, which added a strange element to the music, and I liked it a lot. I wonder how this album would have sounded with it. And that being said, the only negative part for me about this release is that I sometimes would get the feeling that the music is too correct in paying tribute to influences it follows. I can't really pinpoint directly any parts which lead to this, but seldomly I get the feeling that during certain moments there is a thought that a particular riff and its follow-up is too classical. Too Candlemass, or Black Sabbath, or Pentagram. Nothing wrong with these legends of course, but ocassionally I would wish that the compositions took the spirit of Faustcoven even further instead, since it otherwise does it so devilishy well.

Some relevant links:
Album's bandcamp page

Tag(s): black doom metal