Friday, September 16, 2016

Blues Funeral - The Search

Don't know what the hell is going on down in Texas, but the amount of great free-thinking bands coming out of the Lone Star state is flabbergasting. Maybe there's something very good in the water, who knows? All I can say is keep it coming, don't let up. Another addition to this cadre is Houston's Blues Funeral. Born out of the ashes of the excellent Sanctus Bellum, who is on an indefinite hiatus, as Jan"El Janni"Kimmel - guitar, keyboards, vocals, Maurice Eggenschwiler - guitar, vocals and Cory Cousins - drums wanted to continue playing. Once Gabriel Katz was drafted on bass guitar, Blues Funeral saw the light of day.

Knowing where most of the band comes from, I sort of expected Blues Funeral's sound to be akin to Sanctus Bellum. Maybe there are some traces but those are faint if anything. Instead these Texans go for a mixture of 80's heavy metal, a bit of blues and doom, mainly Candlemass, and Yngwie J. Malmsteen. The end result, you ask? Fan-fucking-tastic!

Opener ’Autumn Dream’ begins slowly before some sweet licks leads the way into a Candlemass soaked pastoral. Then everything explodes and I’m transported to the metal lands of Scandinavia anno mid-1980’s…with a modern fresh take to it. And I am sold right away! The guitar solo in the latter half of the song is how I want solos. Unshackled and free, just the way they were in the music I grew up on. A slightly faster more metallic Candlemass is present in ‘Harbringer’. An imminent threat of evil hangs over the song which works so great within the doom sphere. Halfway through, when the solo begins, the guitars has a strong Malmsteen feel throughout. Man, these guys knows what they are doing! Aaaaah, those riffs! ‘Planet Void’ is in your face metal with vibes of Dio that smothers anything in it’s way before adopting a more doomish twist in the chorus. Damn, I’m bouncing off the walls rocking my lazy rear end to kingdom come! Again, a perfect homage to Mr. Malmsteen in the magnificent solo.

Slow doom blues is a way to describe the sinister ‘Paragon Of Virtue’. Love the organ that lurches in the backroom because it helps to paint the mood by adding darker colours to the music. About halfway through, around the time of the solo, everything gets kind of psychedelic and trippy before reverting to gloom. The dueling guitars in the beginning of the title track, ‘The Search’, has a very classical feel which brings to mind Blackmore and Malmsteen. But this is short lived as the band moves into riff based groovy territory, soaked with organ pumping รก la Jon Lord. Jammy with such good vibes as the whole band goes all out! Last out is ‘Palmdale’ and all stops are pulled in this knuckle dragger of a fast, heavy doom composition. Damn, Blues Funeral gives Candlemass a run for the money!

This release came out of the blue for me but all the better for that. Not knowing what’s in store until an album is surprisingly unveiled for the public, brings a clearer, more open mind. True, I did think Blues Funeral would sound like Sanctus Bellum but that was quickly squashed. Instead, these gentlemen have taken the best of their influences, blended it with their own ideas and as a result blow new, fresh life into the doom genre. By adding a lot of heavy metal into the fray in combination with excellent musicianship all around, the Texans have created a juggernaut of a wax. Damn, Blues Funeral are phenomenal!


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