ALBUM REVIEW: Funeral Leech - The Illusion of Time

ALBUM REVIEW: Funeral Leech - The Illusion of Time

Funeral Leech have been delivering their doom-tinged version of death metal since forming in 2015. With their debut album in 2020 Death Meditation, and a combination of heavy doom elements into the guttural and heavy brutality of death metal, the band made a mark as a up-and-coming band to check out. Spreading the band's name out there as touring support for bands like Blood Incantation, Dead Congregation, and Evoken. Now, the band has climbed out of the coffin, four years later, for the release of their second album The Illusion of Time through Carbonized Records. With only five songs and song lengths increased, has the band played with the illusion of time to make the wait for their new record worth it?

The album opens with the track "...and The Sky Wept". With an otherworldly and ominous opening, the track builds with unease and tension as the song slowly rises from the darkness. The guttural vocals and double bass of L. rise, and the song gets going. Guitarists Z. & A. deliver that classic old-school death metal riff style, before the pacing of the song slows down to add the doom metal influence of the band's sound. L.'s snarling and gravely vocals add to the punch of his drums as the guitars continue the chugging and tremolo elements throughout the song. You can hear bassist K.'s gurgling and grimy bass tone at certain points, adding a deep pulsing feeling to the guitars. The vocals are so deep and reverb heavy in the mix, which I like and fits the feel of the song. Similar to the way Portal does their vocals. The band plays with the mix of death and doom really well on the song. Teasing the chugging and heavy palm-muted riffs of death metal at some points, into anguishing screams and slow down doom pieces the next. With the song almost slowing down to a crawl at the seven minute mark. Channeling the funeral doom sound of the likes of Evoken. Before bringing the song back to the death metal speed of the opening riff towards the close.

On "Ceaseless Wheel of Becoming", the drums lead the charge on the opening. Simple guitar strikes with all over the place drum fills and double bass. L.'s guttural growls are so low, at some points almost getting buried behind his own kit, before a phlegm heavy snarl changes the pace of the song. A slow-burn feeling section with slower double bass, heavy chugging and ringing bass from K. as the distorted guitars ring in the background. The song leans more towards the doom metal sound on this track, and the band does it to perfection. Toying with melodic death/doom, funeral doom and little flurries of double bass and tremolo guitar playing. It shows range, and the band's evolution from their previous album. With the addition of synths around the five minute mark, filling the space of the mix, while also adding more feelings of loneliness and sorrow to the aura of the track. The almost galloping like guitar at the six minute mark brings life back into the track, picking the pace up as the double bass follows along with the riff as it heads to the climax of the song.  

On "Penance", the songs opens with tremolo, classic death metal sounding guitars and drum strikes. The eerie chanting like vocals along with the riff sound creepy and evil. The vocals are so guttural and low in the mix, with L. delivering a heavy bass growl in the vein of Chris Barnes on early Cannibal Corpse records. Vocals then turn into wailing screams of anguish and sorrow, intertwined with the deep gutturals amidst the double bass. Adding the synth effect leads, into the three minute mark, creates anxiousness and unknown as the guitars lead with ambient and atmospheric playing. The song again slows down to a snail's-pace at the almost five minute mark. I love the band playing with the song's pacing and delivery, from blasts and double bass, to funeral doom-esque dirges of slowness and depth of distorted, reverbed guitars.

The band's sigil

"Chronofixion" opens with a grimy snarl as the song starts fast and heavy in an old-school death metal feel. I love the reverbed tom hits on the drums, so much power and depth with each strike. It almost is a traditional death metal sounding track, with very cavernous vocals during the blast beats and guitar playing. The halfway mark begins to show transitioning into doom metal. With ringing guitars, distorted guitars creating ambience and slower double bass. It does return back to the main driving riff section on the verses after that little dip. Very few doom metal elements in this track. More old-school death metal, but overall a good song. The album closes with the eleven minute descent into darkness with "The Tower". Opening with ominous, dungeon-synth sounding synthesizers, it is definitely a slow build intro as distorted guitars and drum strikes kick the song off. Drums have so much reverb on them, it instantly adds heft and weight to every strike. While the previous track was more straightforward death metal, this is pure funeral doom sounding in its opening. It's low, it's slow and it's brutally heavy. The addition of synths amidst the deep growling vocals and slow playing completes the funeral doom package. The six-minute mark shows the band begin to return to death metal with a faster double bass section, and tremolo guitar. With little speed up/slow down sections toying around with what genre to lead the song into. So many layers of different genre changes, tempo changing and pacing, the song is a perfect amalgamation of the band's sound and a epic closer to the band's second album.

With The Illusion of Time, Funeral Leech amplified and solidified their beautiful and dark marriage of death metal and funeral doom on their second album. Deep gutturals and cavernous reverb on a lot of the songs, truly embodied the doom metal sound. While also capturing the old-school death metal sound on many of the riffs and drums. A strong record and a true band to keep an eye on this year as well as to see where the band will take their sound in the future.

SCORE: 9 / 10

1) ...and The Sky Wept

2) Ceaseless Wheel of Becoming

3) Penance

4) Chronofixion

5) The Tower

FFO: Asphyx, Bolt Thrower, Autopsy

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