With a formidable old school death metal muscle and black intent the debut album from Dutch band Funeral Whore is an impressive release that even without threatening to stretch the imagination or genre boundaries brings a solid satisfaction to its predatory sounds. Step Into Damnation released worldwide via Chaos Records marks the band as one to keep a keen eye upon with sounds that step through the ear with an aggressive nature whilst taunting and piercing the senses with grooves and grinds that unsettle and captivate in equal measure.
Formed in 2006, Funeral Whore has from day one driven themselves with the intention of creating traditional death metal as it should be steeped in the old school sound. Despite the releasing of a self titled demo, the Morbid Intensions EP, and the three track promo …for all Eternity, all receiving a good reaction, it was not until the return of original drummer Olle to the ranks in 2010 that the band found a point to really push on from. After going through a few drummers that did not or could not bring the sound the songs needed up to this time, the return of Olle to the band he started with Roy (guitar/ vocals) and Kellie (guitar) ignited an already impressive Funeral Whore to find its deepest intensity and creativity. Completed by bassist Tim who joined not long after the formation of the band, a split release with Profanal called Two Morbid Ways To Die and now their debut album Step Into Damnation shows the band is primed to make a distinct and forceful mark on death metal.
The album is a release that grabs the ear with a vice like grip though the intensity and aggression is not as violent and brutal as expected. Instead the band lie upon the senses heavy prowling riffs and doom soaked grooves that permeate every corner to greater effect. From the thunderous drive of opener Eternal Genocide through to the closing might of Buried In Hell, the album is a tenderising rampage across the senses. These two tracks though strong and very agreeable are both straight forward direct osdm sounds offered without any extra essences. In between them the band expand in the other nine songs by unleashing grooves and varied ruptures in pace, intensity, and sound to keep the album constantly intriguing and less predictable.
The level across the album is high and consistent, each track staring into the eyes and flexing its muscles to confront the ear wonderfully but there are times when the band raise their own already high game to make the album a sure investigation for all death metal fans. Wasteland of Corpses intimidates with a prowling groove that stands over the senses like a hungry beast whilst the drums pick off the ear at will. The track immerses one in a thick fog of sound that is glorious due to the fact that though heavy and an unforgiving mass it still allows each integral part to be clear and potent.
Funeral Whore left their game even more on the brilliant El Salvador Death Squad, a song with a groove as sinister as it is infectious, and the consecutive songs of Pierce My Flesh and Threesome. All three turn the body into their punch bag but with at the same times enthusing it with melodies and incisive razor sharp grooves that inspire and permeate eagerly. The rhythms of Olle and Tim are always uncompromising and demanding without brutalising whilst the guitars of Roy and Kellie leave one breathless and wanting more of their venomous creativity. The vocals of Roy complete the monstrous tracks with a depth and sound dragged from the blackest pestilent lined pit, bile and malignancy dripping off every growl.
Step into Damnation misses being a giant of a release because despite its great sounds and accomplished invention and musicianship it really does not offer anything particularly new, and though Funeral Whore do it far better and effectively than most there is still a slight lack of unpredictability and originality that comes with it. Not many death metal albums are more pleasing though and that is the bottom-line as to why this should be listened to.