Marche Funèbre. Ah, ’tis so decadently funeral, this Chopin thing.1) The name of the band brings classical heavy hitters to mind. Soaring melodies full of sorrow. And all that to bury one more lost soul.
So, did RMR suddenly cross those terrible waters of the river Styx and went full-bore classical? Never in life, or anywhere thereafter2).
Straight off the bat, Einderlicht‘s melancholy ways make themselves known. We were quite smitten by their knack to project doom. A sound not unlike Draconian, yet without the female touch.
The band – this time – navigates more on Pallbearer‘s territory than doing piggyback on Paradise Lost‘s meanderings. In other words, traditional Doom Metal gets more of that gloomy daylight here than the sturdy Doom Death Metal piece that has become custom for many bands out there.
That said, Marche Funèbre display an uncanny affinity in both sub-styles. Often, the band switches effortlessly from clear voice to growls whenever the theme demands it. And this – surely – is one of the strong suits of this band.
Yet, this record does not show any considerable weakness throughout its considerable length. All tracks, perhaps except the title track Einderlicht, base themselves on a pretty dense and meaty songwriting style that takes no prisoners. And – indeed – the band scours the abundant catacombs of the old and traditional meanderings of doom with astonishing vigor.
Yet, here it appears that this band found just the right mix between the somewhat frugal old style of the genre and the often lush soundscapes today’s bands like to present. Fabled chocolate milk swamp and all included. And that’s a feat not many aspiring Doom Metal outfits really achieved.
Now, Einderlicht really packs some punch. That said, it’s intriguing3) that they start off Scarred with some slow-motion atmospherics, low energy riffing, and a pretty juicy solo to boot. That one had us scratching our heads because usually, you want to fill your first minute or so with a thunderclap.
So, the band wastes the first four minutes or so with anemic, yet pretty doomy chatter until some meat finally appears on these bleached bones of theirs. And it takes them almost six minutes until some real power arrives on the scene.
Whilst we understand that Marche Funèbre seek to convey this feeling of dread and sorrow, it will test yer patience some. And that is no good for public relations. Even if that wealth of progression on that first track finally leads to a pretty juicy ending with those expert growls and some more serious riffs. Fact of the matter is, though, that this lengthy first track caused the record to linger in our review pipe until 2020 ran out of steam.
Luckily, the lightly blackened The Eye of the End puts a stopper to these capers with its meaty airs and improved velocity. But Einderlicht really lets loose with When All is Said. Already the old but still tasty analogy of solitude vs. comfort really got us curious. But, we truly relished Peter Egberghs‘ stellar riffs and Arne Vandenhoeck‘s eery vocals that somehow seem to emanate from the netherworld.
Dennis Lefebvre and his pretty excellent stick-wielding already made us take heed for the first few tracks. But on The Maelstrom Mute, the drums kinda get into a symbiotic relationship with the lead guitar. Not that the drum work is very prolific, and – in truth – it shouldn’t be. But its intensity is right at the level that is required from a good doom record.
It’s also interesting how each song serves its doom at a slightly different tonality. Yet Einderlicht never loses sight of its tear-drenched and suicidal urges in the process. And this is what finally sets this record apart from others. So, whilst Deformed suddenly surprised us with that tasty monologue, the title track comes across in flemish. Which is – so I understand – a first for the band.
March Funèbre created a carefully crafted and tastily blackened Doom Metal piece. One that bases itself on the traditional, old-style doom of long-gone times. Yet, always with enough modern variation to avoid the low-energy monotony trap. That said, their ability to effortlessly switch from traditional doom to doom/death finally is an asset. And surely not a burden as some have opined.
In the end, Einderlicht truly stands out from the masses that Doom Metal represents these days. A record that matches and even exceeds what the two remaining members of the Peaceville Three were able to deliver lately.
And that is quite a feat.