review by: Roberto Martinelli
We know doom metal is sort of meant to be boring. You know, being super slow, and all. Itís doom. Itís inevitable. So it can take its time.
Hell Lightís Funeral Doom is indeed slow. Itís also heavy. But really, everyone, the albumís owes a good amount of its heaviness to its slowness. See, music in general will feel heavier when itís slowed down, and itís no big surprise that the bands most consider to be the heaviest ever donít play fast.
The critique of the source of Hell Lightís heaviness is that the music, aside from the on-paper doom metal aspects of distorted guitars, growly vocals, heavy drumming, and washes of keyboard and backing vocal ambience, actually doesnít feel heavy. And by heavy, we mean emotionally heavy.
This is kind of ironic considering the statement Hell Light is trying to make by naming their album Funeral Doom. Unless the Brazilian band just stumbled into that one unwittingly, thereís no mistake about what youíre supposed to expect.
For the genre of funeral doom, Funeral Doom is not going to wrench too many hearts with its emotional weight, crushing heaviness, and nigh-excruciating inexorable plod to nothingness. Itís not going to do that because thereís not much of any of those things on hand. Rather, the songs fairly contentedly go about their doom metal business, not standing out much at all from one another, often enough reminding of the doomier aspects of In the Woodsí classic Omnio, in sufficient doses that one begins to feel that Funeral Doom is something like a portion of Omnio, but done about half as well.
Itís not that Funeral Doom is bad. Ok, thereís a bit where the singer goes for some intended big epic soul crush by repeating "eternity" over and over, and the result feels quite forced and silly. Itís that itís dull. Itís repetitive, samey, has little to express, and what truly little there is is made all the more interminable with a 120-minute run time. Like with the "eternity" backfire, it feels like Hell Light really tried to hit one way out of the park with this record, telegraphing its moves from the get-go, forcing its sense of anguish, despair, sadness, and demise, but ended up making the same record most every other decent but unremarkable doom band of this kind makes. (4.8/10)
PS: In case you wanted to further stretch your 120-minute experience out, the Solitude Productions re-issue of this album comes with a 7-track bonus disk, of which six songs are covers. We felt that two hours of unmemorable doom genericness was enough for us, so you might have to dig up the covers of such unusual bands for metallers to cover as Neil Young, Queen, and Danzig for yourselves on YouTube.