Funeral Doom Friday: UNTIL DEATH OVERTAKES ME Makes A Triumphant Return With Antemortem
It’s the weekend! What better way to get it started than with the latest installment of “Funeral Doom Friday”. This weekly column looks to shed some light onto some of the darkest, most depressing, and discordant metal out there. Funeral Doom stems from the deepest depths of Death-Doom and Dirge music. Each week, the goal is to highlight some of the newest music or rediscover classic works from some of the earliest bands and originators such as Australia’s Mournful Congregation, United States’s Evoken, UK’s Esoteric and the Finnish Thergothon. Feel free to share your opinions and suggestions in the comments!
Following a seven-year layover between feature length records and a breakup in 2011, the Belgian Until Death Overtakes Me made its return in 2016. Now as a solo project, Stijn Van Cauter takes complete control of the funeral doom entity. Following a handful of singles throughout 2016, Cauter arranged and released today's feature, Antemortem, earlier this month. While much of the four-song album portrays a very classical sense of funeral doom; the most striking features stem from Cauter's use of ambient and darkwave music.
Much of Antemortem is an ode to the build-up to death. According to the notes for the album, "Antemortem (before death) is not a glorification of death but focuses on the path to it. Life with its pains and terrors might long for the end, but could just as well explore the freedom that comes with accepting the inevitable." From the opening notes of "Before", synthesized sounds mingle with the ride cymbal of Stijn's drumkit. Droning guitars are introduced followed by a deadly bellow that overlays much of the song. Interesting to note, "Before" was originally recorded prior to Until Death Overtakes Me's hiatus in 2003.
There is new material on the album, though. The album's third and fourth songs, "The Wait" and "Inevitability", were both written in 2016. Comparing these two tracks to the older material featured on Antemortem, strong levels of growth are easily audible. It seems the time away did Cauter a lot of good. The darkwave and ambient music strike a deeper chord on the latter half of the album. "The Wait" is the apex. The combination of more poignant ambiance and a stronger grasp on funerary dynamics creates a moving composition. The emotive conclusion is a stirring ten-minute instrumental that wonderfully wraps up Antemortem.