HDR - 007 : Funeral Fornication - Solitude and Suicide
Released: June 18th, 2009
Details: Pro CDr 8 Page Booklet/Standard Jewel Case - Unlimited Quantities
Genre: Depressive Black Metal


By: Matthew Caughlin

Funeral Fornication – Solitude and Suicide [74/100]
Consensus: Great atmosphere, yet one dimensional and gets a bit filler towards the end.

After hearing preview tracks of this release I was excited to receive a copy of the album. However, towards the end of my first listen I was a little disappointed at the album’s consistency and repetitive nature. Now, maybe my personal over-hype caused this disappointment, for this is in no way a bad album; in fact, quite the contrary. However, with how one dimensionally basic the compositional style seems to be, I cannot give this more than a good rating. After the first few excellently produced tracks, there isn’t a whole lot to follow up on. It’s basically more of the same, with the inclusion of 1 or 2 filler tracks, that aren’t terrible, but can become tedious in that each song seems to be composed of the basic verse-chorus-verse type of composing. I’d recommend this release to people who are looking for nice atmosphere and riffs as opposed to anything remotely progressive in composition. I do enjoy playing this release every once in awhile, but to listen to the whole album at once is almost a chore for me, and I am unsure if the music is amazing enough to have a long replay value.


From: Hierophant Nox Webzine www.hierophant-nox.com

Throwing your hat into the depressive black metal ring when some of your fellow countrymen are arguably the most sublime and towering exponents of the sub-genre is incredibly brave, but then again, there’s no reason for one small group to set the tone for a nation, and, beyond that, no reason for geographical boundaries to dictate a style. All of which is positive for Canada’s Funeral Fornication, the project of solo artist Vultyrous, who treads a markedly different melancholic path to those trailblazers way over the other side of the country in Quebec. Different, but with the potential to be just as special.

"Solitude and Suicide" is Vultyrous’ third full-length under the FF banner, and although problems with labels have prevented widespread release and exposure, he’s not exactly a stranger around here, having contributed guitars and vocals to Artep’s "Black War" EP (the lady herself turns up here as a passable sound engineer). The eeriness and ferocity of his work on that release is immediately in evidence here. Whilst opener "Mother of Peril" is a little lateral, despite boasting a rather majestic riff and some very cold atmospherics, the fear that thing are going to be a bit samey is instantly dispelled by "The Weeping Tree", which begins in skittering ambience before building up into a sub-zero stomp with massive presence and a powerful dark melody, that speaks to the listener rather than overawing with bombast. Although synths are used to bolster the main movement beautifully, all of Funeral Fornication’s tracks have razor-sharp edges that defy any definition as gentle or passive.

Important to the hostile outlook are Vultyrous’ vocals, a tortured, distorted howl that occasionally tips over the edge and becomes plain uncomfortable (which is, of course, a compliment). The snowstorm guitars and stalking bass give a sense of connectedness with black metal’s roots, particularly during the monotone economy of "Veils of Ice", whilst the logical yet artistic structuring of the tracks allows for horror and misery to be built in with ease. If I had a complaint, it would be aimed towards the programmed drums; I understand that these are often a necessity to the solo artist, and they do improve as the album goes on, but they make a poor first impression.

If you like things dark, depressive and evocative with a firm rooting within the traditions of black metal, Funeral Fornication are definitely one to add to your list; flashes of cunning, gutsy guitars, unleashed dissonance and a deep and ominous presence combine into something that at times can raise the hair on your neck, and it feels as if Vultyrous is only just getting started in terms of inventiveness and vision. A more clear-cut and unique sound seems destined to emerge from the potential here - stick with him and I’ve a notion that he’ll take you somewhere horribly desolate. And that you’ll like it.

Ellen Simpson


From: Winter Torments Zine www.myspace.com/winter_torment

This is the third release (first on Hypnotic Dirge Records) and apparantly a new beginning for this Canadian project. Looking at the band's site and bio i guess Funeral Fornication's first two releases were more in the black/thrash style. Well 'Solitude and suicide' will shock a lot of older Funeral Fornication's fans, as it is more dark, dreary sounding. The band plays some decent dreary, and depressing mid-paced black metal. I respect the band trying a new sound/genre but really for a debut of dreary ambient styled black metal, this release is just decent. Fans of the newer Black Metal/Ambient style might enjoy this.


From: Defiance Magazine www.myspace.com/defiancemagazine

More Depressive Black Metal coming from Canada, Funeral Fornication changed musical direction with this offering "Solitude and Suicide".

With the enticing "The Weeping Tree" which gets that head moving in the typical slow head banging fashion at the steady pace that this genre offers. Well produced and mastered, the guitars haunting in the background of the massacred screams. The stings hidden behind the power of the faded drums, this album really feels like the end. In which ironically the album title does suggest this. "Veils Of Ice That Impersonate Mirrors" hits that moment with the middle section being down tempo and "Channelling Volatile Energy" picks up the energy again, enough to make you move and appreciate the hard work that has gone into this album. With "Beneath The Oak" in my opinion being the best track on this album and following in the perfect execution of Doom metal again, it makes you float in your own world of those dark thoughts. This is certainly a band worth keeping your eyes on in the future.


From: Chronicles of Chaos Webzine www.chroniclesofchaos.com

Canada's femme fatale led Artep have gained a considerable following, igniting the flames spewing from their mouths to grow bigger and brighter. Vultyrous' (the main vocalist / guitarist for Artep) band Funeral Fornication has also met with a mound of attention, probably from Artep fans curious to hear what else Vultyrous is capable of. Being involved with an amalgam of projects deviating from the symphonic black metal of Artep with the technical death spew of Gremory, the harsh vocalized power metal band Seasons of Sorrow and "gothic metal / doom rock" band Lashing Ether, Vultyrous can add one more section of metal to his lexicon: depressive black metal.

"Mother of Peril" starts off very fast, contrary to most of the slow moving music of much DBM / SBM, especially of the typical Canadian method. A malign backdrop and menacing riffs make this track the best yet, but things go downhill after follower "The Weeping Tree", which provides a haunted house atmosphere using synthesizers. Vultyrous' vocals are distressing enough to fit within the style, and the music is certainly cold and dark. Though despite the heavy atmospheres, mournful moods and depressing song titles like "You Must Admit, the Sun Is Dying" and "Never Let a Flower Adorn My Grave", Funeral Fornication has a long journey ahead to find the right cyanide laced formula to becoming a DBM paragon. The lack isn't surprising considering this is basically a debut (though Funeral Fornication's third official full-length) due to _Solitude and Suicide_ being a catalyst for FF's road down DBM.

Depressive black metal is a rapidly spreading outbreak with many bands having perfected this sublime genre, dealing out razor-edged music that enters listeners into hours of comatose-like states. If you're searching for the very best in Canadian depression, bands like Forteresse, Gris and Monarque are worthier countrymen. If it weren't for the inhuman quality to the record from the drum-machine, _Solitude and Suicide_ would bring a larger audience to psychotic tears. Machines are voids that can't be filled with emotion, so they aren't good for this type of music. Consistent is generally a good thing, like when a band never fails to release a jaw-dropping album. While Funeral Fornication's consistency does lie in their music, it's found in the basic, rarely changing structure to the tracks, creating a one-dimensional sound to a genre of black metal that is known for its deepness and multi-dimensional form. There is a multitude of fascinating parts to be found on _Solitude and Suicide_, but they must be found sifting through the rest of the repetitive, lacking pieces. The end of "Channeling Volatile Energy" featured impressive guitars that shone in the album as did "Beauty Is Derelict in My Eyes," so Funeral Fornication may evolve into something with more tenor with future releases.

Reviewer: Yulon Zhu - 5/10


From: Nocturnal Cult Webzine www.nocturnalcult.com

Funeral Fornication
Solitude and Suicide
Hypnotic Dirge Records - 2009

Out of the cold wastelands of the Canadian North comes the dispiriting black metal of Funeral Fornication. Solitude and Suicide begins somewhat in a somewhat misleading manner as the first track, Mother of Peril, is a repetitive and barbaric assault that brings to mind early Tiamat through its use of hollow, hypnotic riffs and chilling melodies thought the occasional use of synths throws proceedings into new territory. The Weeping Tree takes the synth utilization to the next logical step but overdoes it a little as the song has a vampyric, almost romantic feel to it as the pace has been slowed and layers of overt emotion have been showered upon this track. However I feel the album finds its true identity and reaches an equilibrium on Veils of Ice that Impersonate Mirrors. Somber black metal with dismal dreariness settles in like a blanket of fog. A faint drum beat, Burzum-ish screeching vocals, melancholic clean guitars and weary melodies cloud our minds like a hypnotic haze, in some ways like modern Xasthur but without sounding like a clone. Channeling Volatile Energy picks up the tempo tiny bit but without sacrificing any of the mounting atmospheric tension, continuing to focus on fuzzy guitars, haunting synths and tortured vocals. Towards the track’s conclusion the pace becomes tempestuous and the riffing, frenzied and ice cold. The drum machine is a little annoying at times but can be forgiven. Nordic riffing and nocturnal moods permeate You Must Admit The Sun Is Dying and we are even treated to a muted guitar solo within the blizzard. The album closes with Let Never A Flower Adorn My Grave, a slowly swimming mixture of writhing electronic ambience and corrosive black metal menace. The washed out drone of white-noise reverb is unsettling. Funeral Fornication stumbles a little bit on this album as this one-man band struggles to find a musical focus but once he achieved it Solitude and Suicide became a solid listen and a triumph of despair. A real drummer or even a more organic sounding drum machine would go along way for Funeral Fornication as well.

Reviewer: Bradley Smith


From: Heathen Harvest www.heathenharvest.com

If there's one place in Canada I can highly recommend visiting, it would be Victoria B.C., Canada!! A lovely little town full of antique houses, eccentric artists, a multitude of fabulous international restaurants, and a number of beautiful oceanside ports. I spend a nice summer there once upon a time ten years ago.

Quiet and peaceful, and despite the recent influx of eccentric hippies and acidheads adding to the already colorful display of raving homeless folk and street performers, one of the last places you'd think to look for hateful, misanthropic pagan black metal.

That is, until I stumbled upon this interesting outfit, led by a solitary madman named Vultyrous. Checking out the multitude of other acts related to this character, it looks like the Victorian scene has been quite busy indeed since the time I left!! It looks as if strange goings-on have indeed been commencing under the Western B.C. sun!

Now signed to Canadian dark/extreme music label Hypnotic Dirge, Funeral Fornication started out as a somewhat Bathory-inspired black/thrash metal band, however, with the release of this album on their new label, the sound has indeed taken a sharp turn towards more depressive and murky waters.

However, although their subtle influence may still be felt, this is definitely NOT another drop in the ocean of “depressive black metal” Burzum and Mutiilation clones!! To even expect such is pure folly on the part of the jaded black metal consumer, as this is a beast of entirely different raven-black fur.

Perhaps, in direct contrast, Funeral Fornication could be best described as “depressive gothic black metal”. As the naive cringe, expecting “gothic black metal” to mean bands who sing about cheesy horror themes such as sex and vampires, whilst creating equally cheesy commercial symphonic metal with rock concerts and music videos to rival Kiss, definitely rethink your terms!

This is “gothic black metal” more in the sense that aggressive black metal structures are applied to melodies and neoclassical song structures one would more likely find in German darkwave artists such as Sopor Aeternus or Lacrimosa. This is truly melancholic music for isolated minds, but not without a definite sense of grandeur and beauty, and definitely not forsaking the abrasive aggression required of black metal.

All the more often, extreme metal follows an element of chaos and intangible aesthetics tied together with hints of melody that appear as “highlights of beauty” buried within the onslaught of ugliness. It's a formula older than Wagner, but has long been metal's musical trademark. In this music, the ugliness is found more in the sound and abrasively heavy tone of the instruments themselves... more in the actual texture of the music than its direction. Its direction is much more oriented towards classical melodies and chord progressions, driven and pushed forward by the aggression of metal.

That sort of dualism continues throughout the entire CD, beginning with a blast of pure atmospheric black metal aggression with “Mother of Peril”, only to give way to the doomy horror filled chug and romantic climax of “The Weeping Tree”, a track, which as stated before, would likely draw more comparisons to Lacrimosa than to Burzum, save the vocal style used here is one of a harsh lycanthropic black metal howl than some sentimental German opera croon.

Balance is often the key to retaining the listener's interest throughout the CD, as every song is full of it's own little twists and turns, aggressive blasts of black hatred, weepy, and often very flowing unbroken melodies, dark ambient sections, and it's own share of head-bangable riffs. The vocals are really nothing all that special here. If you've heard, say, Bal-Sagoth or Dimmu Borgir, you may know what to expect.

The production is surprisingly crystal clear without sacrificing any rough edges for, again, an all-around “balanced” sound.

Reading through the lyric booklet, I'm rather puzzled as to why Mr. Vultyrous decided on such a cheesy, predictable cliche name for the album, as the sound and output of the album is so utterly devoid of typical cliches. The lyrics seem not to reflect suicide, but mostly are composed of personal poetry, seemingly reflecting the states of mind the artist had been going through in various points of his life. An English equivalent to a lot of the stuff German gothic black metal tricksters Samsas Traum have been coming up with.

In closing, I will say that I hope this record is a sign of things to come from this relatively unheard-about corner of Canada. Not only that, but I hope Funeral Fornication take some time to fully develop and evolve this sound for the next album. You can be sure that this is a band to keep an eye on in the coming years!!

Reviewer: Loki Helvete


From: Meridian 9 Magazine; Issue #5

“Solitude and Suicide” is a very appropriate title for this achingly depressive and, yes, suicide inducing album. Unearthly howling screams dominate the eight synth laced tracks on this drippy and green tinged disc. Quite a change from FF’s early Pagan/Thrashy demo days. In any case, the guitars are a menacing buzz that sit behind the aforementioned keyboard leads. The drums hammer out a monotonous and repetitive trudging beat, but this is only appropriate for the type of music we have here. This is some blood curdling and grim stuff but, every now and again, a truly beautiful cello or violin sounding lead will pull itself up from the gloom and degradation and shine brightly before being pulled back down into minor chord hell. At times these compositions can be droning and grate on the listeners nerves, but I find that to be appropriate and simply adds to the unsettling and hellish atmosphere called up by sole member Vultyrous. Who, by the way, is another one of those obnoxiously multitalented and prolific individuals. Not only has he released seven Funeral Fornication demos/albums (Plus, new for 2010 “Pandemic Transgression”) he is also involved with Seasons of Sorrow, Gremory (Can), Lashing Ether, Artep and Ringbearer. So, feel like killing yourself this evening? Well, I can’t condone that, but if you wanted to get yourself in the mood, some Funeral Fornication would certainly be a step in the right direction.

Reviewer: Owen Wears


From: Voltage Media www.voltagemedia.com.au

What Funeral Fornication brings with 'Solitude and Suicide' makes for an interesting peculiarity; the origins of this project are Canadian, rather than, perhaps, an assumed northern region.

'Solitude and Suicide' is Vultyrous’ third full-length album under the Funeral Fornication moniker, and is a troubled piece with its share of creative and at times overwhelming undertows.

One of the most haunting and hostile tracks from the album is without question 'The Weeping Tree'. With sullen lyrics, and a constant harshness - only agony can translate. These themes are at times broken with tranquil strings, which further concrete a poignant ambience.

Vultyrous’ vocals are continually a demonic, screeching, anguish which incessantly lingers beneath the melodies, rather than overpowering them. The Black metal roots of Funeral Fornication are overt within this record through the approach of raw tonalities, and for those who enjoy the depressive spawn of black metal; this is definitely an album for you.

Ominous forms continue throughout 'Beneath The Oak', which holds a slightly symphonic quality to its sound, and truly build up in 'Let Never A Flower Adorn My Grave'. At almost thirteen minutes, this epic opens with haunting strings and whispering voices, which further explode into agonising tones with seeds a sorrowful riff that grandly continues to linger about the listener.

The album finishes with the ashes of the aforementioned piece and this depressive presentation clearly highlights the creativity of Vultyrous and Funeral Fornication as a project to follow and keep one’s eye upon, as it can only continue to grow.

With the following closing lines: 'Remember not my name, let never a flower adorn my grave', the aggression ceases and the subtle beauty withers away as 'Solitude and Suicide' becomes exactly that.

Reviewer: Anna Denejkina


From: Funeral March Zine; Issue #6 www.myspace.com/funeralmarchzine

I am not too impressed by the first song on this record, it feels rather repetitive and somewhat naked. But when I hear the second song I wonder what the hell just happened. This is an awesome song... heavy, dark and atmospheric. I can listen to just this song over and over again, it is damn good! I will not go deeper into the rest of the songs but I can say that it is a really good record, it is atmospheric, dark and cold. It feels somewhat melancholic which is great! This record contain some true pieces of art that is pure pleasure listening to. Some tracks are not that good, but still good. The overall impression is that it is a good album, with its ups and downs. But when it comes to the ups it is extremely good! The down parts are still ok, not bad at all. So this is a record that I recommend for those who want some slower, more atmospheric and dark black metal.


From: Elitarian Music www.elitarianmusic.com

Solitude and Suicide is the third opus from Vultyrous, mastermind behind one man band Funeral Fornication, active since 2002. As the album title hints, the referential genre could once again be identified with depressive black metal, even if its dictates get reworked here in a kind of mixed fashion, sometimes so raw and primitive it’s reminiscent of early Bathory (Mother of Peril), albeit it doesn’t despise more unusual stylistic solutions (an example would be the coupling of mournful, almost theatrical strings and dirty, thundering riffage in The Weeping Tree, or the bass patterns of Channelling Volatile Energy, or even You Must Admit, the Sun is Dying), as well as returns to more conventional grounds (Veils of Ice that Impersonate Mirrors). It’s obvious that we’re not dealing with an essential release, but it’s nonetheless reassuring to listen to a band that once in a while tries to provide a slightly different approach in such a static and stereotyped scene as depressive black metal is, even if the album doesn’t unfortunately lack some unbearably dull moments as well (which brought the rating down). If Vultyrous will prove to be able to make the most of its creative vein and good intuition, then Funeral Fornication will definitely be sure to get talked about in the future, and I for one do hope so.