Label: Eerie Echoes (digital) / Throne Records (vinyl)

FVNERALS are a very special kind of band; the kind that flirt with the boundary separating the horrific and the beautiful, using one aspect to amplify the other. Much like, say, Ides Of Gemini or Chelsea Wolfe, they create music that is heavy not so much through volume, but through emotion. Their new two-song EP, The Path, offers a subtle evolution on the sound presented so well on last year’s The Light LP, with sharper, more focused song-writing whilst still maintaining the blissfully dark atmosphere that made that album so appealing. This EP invites the listener in to the darkest of waters, the blackest of nights, the most deathly of embraces, and it is so appealing and oddly comforting, you’d be a fool not to follow where they lead.

As on previous releases, the most notable aspect of The Path is the way vocalist/keyboardist Tiffany uses her voice. Somehow managing to sound both detached and inherently invested in what she sings, hers is the voice of a survivor who has seen too much and just wants to find peace, but knows that it will forever be out of reach. When her singing soars to high notes, as during “Ruin”, the effect is truly stirring, especially when considered in comparison to the near-monotone she normally adopts (which is, in itself, very effective and suits the songs perfectly). Meanwhile, Syd’s guitar-work and Antoine’s drums are prime examples of how less can be more, with the space and atmosphere they create as heavy and effective as almost anything you might care to name. Likewise, Tiffany’s keyboards are largely restrained, subtly contributing to the atmosphere without ever sounding dominating or too obvious.

Don’t let this create the impression that the music simply drifts along though, a slave to atmosphere at the expense of all else. “Solemn” features a stunning section where the band come close to doom metal, with the guitar becoming much heavier and the drumming possessing an extra punch, before it all gives way to funeral organs in a shift so dramatic and beautifully handled that it is hard not to be moved by it. Likewise, “Ruin” sees the band make great use of dynamics and more musically heavy elements, without once risking compromising the atmosphere they so successfully create.

Though it’s not especially long, The Path is the kind of record that aims to draw the listener in, and succeeds in a manner that makes doing so seem easy. It’s a dark delight to listen to, brimming with sadness but also a sense of release and catharsis. It also has me very excited to see what the band produce next. Hopefully they won’t keep us waiting too long, as The Path is the sound of a band on the rise, confident in their sound whilst simultaneously finding ways to build upon it.

The Path can be downloaded and streamed via Bandcamp. A 7″ version is due for release through Throne Records later in the year.

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