Review from Makeshift Altars

Posted by Nick Skog on Wednesday, September 23, 2020 Under: English
From: Makeshift Altars
Published: September 19, 2020

Belgian romantics, Marche Funèbre, conjure an operatic image of longing, grief, and loss of hope in the modern age

    Isn't it so nice when a band's name accurately reflects the sound of their music? For all those who have trouble using Google translate (or can't make sense of English cognates in foreign languages), Marche Funèbre is French for "funeral march" or "funeral parade". As one might expect, a band name with such somber connotations belongs to a band playing somber, moody music. In fact I kind of find it funny that they play death doom rather than funeral doom, though I suppose that might be a little too on-the-nose. But enough of genre conventions and names, who are these people?

    Marche Funèbre have been together since 2008, and Einderlicht is their fourth provocation to the god of mourning and sorrow (see; album) since then. From their inception, Marche have been quite steadfast in their use of several key songwriting elements: decrepit slow riffs, operatic clean vocals, and a penchant for using triumphant, yet sorrowful, melodic elements to bind everything together. This is the glue that forms the structure of Marche's style, and at this point that glue is bursting out from the seams. Not a whole lot has changed in the interim eleven years since their first release, Norizon, in 2009, besides how well produced the band's output has become. I don't often find myself attracted to squeaky clean production - it is metal after all - but Marche, and a lot of bands in this particular overarching genre of metal, make this level of cleanliness quite attractive. It makes the funereal atmosphere upon which all instrumentation is laid all the more potent.
    In its opening moments, Einderlicht show how Marche is able to utilize that atmosphere to great effect. "Scarred", the first track, begins with a slow duet of drawn out notes on guitar and a yearning minor bass melody, building up to the first progression of the album. All of this, as I have stated, is crystal clear in production, and the band take a lot of time to set up the tone before vocals enter, or even before the distorted guitars enter around the 4-minute mark. In this way, I find Marche to be quite talented in their approach to patient and emotional music; as the emotional payoff of most of their songs is quite bombastic. Despite this, I still maintain that their music is fitting to their name. The structure of their tracks often feels similar to the proceedings of a funeral, amping up to emotional heights only to reverse course and reflect on that same height some time later. You can take it from someone who has attended his fair share of funerals in the past two years. The build ups make themselves akin to the nearly-awkward silence and reflection of services while the payoff feels often analogous to the sobbing and wailing that interrupts such somber reflection. Tracks like "When All Is Said" and "Einderlicht" follow similar patterns.

    On the other hand, tracks like "The Maelstrom Mute" and, especially, "Deformed" launch into their momentous riffs from the outset. These tracks often lean farther into the death in death doom and show off a different set of sensibilities I feel. Especially in the case of the latter, which contains perhaps the most interesting riff on the record, utilizing the wide interval of a natural harmonic to embellish and otherwise fast (by doom standards) chugging riff. The former, on the other hand, is probably the closest track on the record to the origins of its genre, sounding almost like a Candlemass track. I'd also like to classify the second half of the title track under this 'traditional doom metal' branding. It is likely the most effective use of this half Marche's style, and is the standout track on the album for utilizing both the contemplative clean passages and the more metal sensibilities in equal measure.

    I'd like to say, I don't have anything wrong with Einderlicht. I could maybe complain about cheesy lyrics and clean vocals, for those are in spades, but I don't find that fair as its pretty typical of the music Marche are trying to create. Suffice to say doom metal isn't really my thing, and that isn't a fair judgment either. I've stated here the things I find pleasing and interesting about Einderlicht, and to state all the things I find wrong with it would just be a statement of the things I find wrong with doom metal in general, and thus feels like a pointless exercise. Instead, I'll say that I wish Marche were a bit more on the innovative side, and that most of the time I find the trappings of doom metal to be more well-utilized by either bands not within the doom genre or bands who seek to do more with the influence. For example, I think bands like Corridoré create a more potent version of the sober, plodding atmosphere in tracks like "For the Voyage of Oblivion Awaits You Pt. 2" off their self-titled. I also feel like the riff-heavy likes of Weeping Sores do justice to the more bombastic energy on their rather experimental 2019 album False Confession.

    I mean in no way to hold these musings against Marche Funèbre, merely that they are the bands I think of that have impressed me in such a way to change my opinion, if briefly, on the matter of doom metal and its conventions. Einderlicht, while if I were writing for a more streamlined site, would get a "generally positive" reaction out of me, as I enjoyed my time with it. But I think the band would benefit stepping outside the comfort zone they've established. I can heartily recommend Einderlicht to those unlike me, who find this genre and those in it to hold their interest. To them I would say, go check out Marche Funèbre's catalog at their bandcamp below. Might I also recommend Hypnotic Dirge records, as their output is stellar.

    Einderlicht releases on September 25th via Hypnotic Dirge.

Reviewed by: Dalton

In : English 

Tags: "marche funebre" "marche funèbre" "marche funèbre einderlicht" "marche funebre einderlicht" "einderlicht" "doom metal" "death doom metal" "death doom" 

 Released: September 25, 2020
Genre: Death-Doom Metal