Finland is a nation that regularly tops indexes of the happiest countries in the world, mostly due to its exceptional social and welfare policies. Despite this, Finland is also a country wrapped in a tradition of sorrow and pensiveness which often comes out in their art. In 2006 an image by Hugo Simberg was voted Finland’s ‘National Painting’. It is entitled The Wounded Angel, and it depicts two young boys carrying an angel on a stretcher, bloodied and injured as if coming back from the battlefield. There is hardly a better example of that instinctive Finnish artistic mournfulness.
You often find this distinctively solemn aesthetic in doom metal from Finland, and it’s very evident in the Self-Titled EP from Finnish newcomers Funeral For Two. It’s their first release, recorded before they’ve even played live, thanks to the pandemic. As introductions to a band go it’s a very decent effort. The two songs here are largely similar, both balancing Electric Wizard style riffs with gloomy and melancholic vocals. Although this isn’t a wholly original combination (there is an obvious comparison to Monolord to be made) I do think Funeral For Two grasp this sound very well, and there are times on this EP where the band show the potential for creating something unique.
The first track Sculpture Of A Demon is based around the kind of riff you’ll know well if you’ve listened to doom for any length of time. It’s a great fuzzy sound, the guitar amps clipping and breaking up nicely in a vintage way, and it has a solid groove to it too. The chorus is where things get interesting as the vocal melodies verge on gothic, with vocalist Mikke Sillanpää despairingly crying out ‘wasting all my life wondering why’. The harmonies emphasise those feelings of hopelessness and anguish; it’s captivating and seriously catchy in the way the best doom songs are.
It’s a great fuzzy sound, the guitar amps clipping and breaking up nicely in a vintage way…
The second track Forgotten Souls is darker in tone, although the main riff has a similar flow to the first track. It’s got a slow and lethargic aggression which again couples excellently with the haunting vocals. When things break down into a softer (but no less fuzzy) solo guitar melody, it seems as if the track might be going on a tangent towards a different path. However, it’s merely a moment to breathe, as the main riff returns even heavier and more crushing than before. The band utilise some psychedelic effects in the last leg, making for a nice noisy ending to the track.
This EP has many of the traits that a good doom record should have: heavy and fuzzy guitar tones, strong melodies, catchy riffs, and tight performances backed up by a strong production. For doom to be truly great there also needs to be something unique and distinctive to the sound. I don’t think Funeral For Two are there yet, but considering this is their first release they’ve shown they’re capable of achieving this. The lamenting and mournful sound of Finland comes out intuitively in their music, and if they’re able to utilise this further, then they could indeed go on to create some awesome doom metal
I certainly enjoyed this record, and I am looking forward to hearing much more from Funeral For Two.
Scribed by: Will J