I feel like funeral doom is the bastard child of heavy metal. Free of the dynamic riffage of regular doom, the fun of stoner metal, and the raw, punk-inflected anger of sludge. I think that’s a shame because, at its best, funeral doom provides some of the most powerful and heavy musical moments in metal. Finland’s Profetus, with their second album As all Seasons Die, has provided a perfect example of funeral doom at its finest, a layered, syrupy dose of fatalism guaranteed to bring down your day.
The album is somewhat short for funeral doom – four tracks clocking in at about thirty five minutes. Each track sounds ethereal and natural, similar to Wolves In The Throne Room, yet is crushingly heavy. The opening track, “The Rebirth of Sorrow,” is a three minute organ-led ambient track; haunting and not unlike a funeral march, it is a perfect opening to the album. The organ replaces the bass guitar all throughout the album, giving each song a feeling of melancholy and gothic grandeur.
Things pick up on the second track, entitled “A Reverie (Midsummer’s Dying Throes).” Based on a repetitive riff and sparse drumming, it is hypnotic and depressive. I can imagine seeing this band live must be a harrowing experience and, of course very, very loud.
“Dead Are Our Leaves Of Autumn” is my favorite track on the record. Like the others, it is achingly slow, yet it shows the excellent lead guitar work of the band. It is the most dynamic of the tracks, each note flowing and cascading into each other. It is rooted in traditional heavy metal, yet is foreboding. Funeral doom can often seem stifling and choking in all of the worst ways, and the occasional lead helps add power and emotion.
The last track, “The Dire Womb of Winter” is a cloying, lurching fifteen minutes of gothic funeral doom. The organ takes the lead here and it sounds as heavy as any guitar lead. Vocals on this track, like all the others, are deep in the mix – growls of exhausted, painful Thanatophobia.
This is a great album because of its great atmosphere. The record sounds primeval, yet deeply emotional. Necromantic, yet rooted in the problems of the human condition. It succeeds because of the depth of the images it conjures. This record is for those that wish to escape to a world of nature and grotesqueness, a world of black rivers and thick woods, a world of romantic suicide blood flecked on the lips of the sick.
Listen below, but be warned.