Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Frowning - Extinct (Black Lions Productions, 2017)

With a name like Frowning there is a fair indication of what to expect musically from "Extinct" which is the work of one man, Val Atra Niteris, who performs everything on the album. The follow up to the debut "Funeral Impressions", which was released on Solitude Productions three years ago, is the bands first release for the ever reliable Black Lion Productions and it proves to be a funeral doom album that is worthy of attention.

The challenge that always presents itself with funeral doom is achieving that balance between the slow, despondent undercurrent inherent in the style without losing the listener to boredom in the process. Of the four original songs, that run between nine and twenty minutes, all are so well constructed that their duration is forgotten and the inclusion of Frederic Chopin's "Marche Funebre" fits the album perfectly.

If you are at all familiar with funeral doom then it is easy to find your bearings as each of the songs are deliberate and move at a slow pace, the harmonies are dour yet melodic while the lyrics are delivered in a cavernous, yet somewhat decipherable, growl. That said, Frowning assemble all of these elements in such a way that "Extinct" flows and manage to create a palpable sense of atmosphere throughout that adds to the overall impact.

I would be the first to admit that funeral doom is probably a form of metal that is unlikely to appeal to everybody and is definitely a niche market for the initiated, Frowning definitely have plenty to offer such individuals. I believe the first press has all but sold out so hopefully there is a second as "Extinct" is such a strong release that stays within the parameters of the style, as would be expected, yet does it so well that it stands out in any case.