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4 out of 5 skulls
December 28, 2011 | ,

Funerus Reduced to Sludge

It appears that I’m on a bit of a old school Swedish death metal kick lately (Morbus Chron, Bones, Cryptborn, Entrails…). Let’s add another one to the heaping, putrid pile of vileness. Funerus first released their debut album, Festering Earth back in 2003 after a series of demos. Fast forward eight years and the band’s landscape has changed tremendously. Now a three-piece with sole founding member Jill McEntee handling bass and vocals (wait, what! That’s a chick growling? Goddamn!), the band is fleshed out with her husband John (Incantation, as well as the owner of Ibex Moon Records) on guitars and Sam Inzerra on drums.

Suffice it to say, the chunky slabs of doom-infused death metal of Reduced to Sludge is quite similar in style to that of Incantation with a decent helping of Bolt Thrower, Hail of Bullets and and a touch of Entombed thrown in for good measure. Delivered at a relatively slow moving pace (peppered with manic outbursts at just the right spots), the music is full, crushing and weighs heavy on your spine as it oozes from the speakers. It fills the air with an aura of despair and desolation. Vocally, Jill’s growls are on par, if not better, than any other lead female growler in the game today. At first (and even on third and fourth listens) I hadn’t realized that a chick was belting out those guttural utterances.

“Behind the Door” starts things off properly with a slowly building first couple of seconds before fulling engulfing you in Incantation inspired guitars that also carry a Bolt Thrower vibe to the thick, suffocating atmosphere. This lumbering song is dense as fuck as the vocal mayhem commences — an overall feeling that fills the entire album. The pace is picked up some with the second track, “Corroded” and injected with some earie guitar tones and several, nicely timed tempo shifts. The relatively shorter song length (most are under three and a half minutes) is ideal for music like this. It keeps the album from becoming too overbearing and allows you to invest just the right amount of time to each track.

For the most part the music on Reduced to Sludge is mired in its own sludgey goodness. That said the trio do know how to break out of the bogged down death metal (see the title track for a prime example) with some serious and ferocious blasts of frenzied guitar work and pile-driving drums. “Bedpan Commando,” “Leatherface” and “Death of a God” are all great examples of the band letting loose when it’s most needed. The gallop of “Death of a God” is like that of the four horsemen charging their way into your bedroom while you do your best to hide under the bed with soiled underwear.

I’d point out some other standout tracks, but that would just waste everyone’s time. The whole damn album is a fucking winner. Old school, doomy and crunchy, the death metal on Reduced to Sludge will, well, reduce you to sludge. I hope you’ve got your adult diapers on boys and girls when you toss this one in the CD player — shit’s about to get gnarly.

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