Finally, the weekend is upon us. What better way to kick it off than with the latest installment of "Funeral Doom Friday". For those who are new to this column; each week features a new or classic album from the realm of extreme doom. Much of funeral/death doom's might comes from an oppressive emotional weight and the use of death or black metal motifs (played at a trudging pace, of course.) Pioneers like Mournful Congregation, Evoken, and Esoteric have mastered this blend of dirge and destruction. For 25 years, they have methodically built compositions that stretch for dozens of minutes all while keeping fans enthralled. Time has elapsed since the days of Thergothon and much like the world around us, the genre has evolved. Today's modern bands contort the very construct of the genre, breeding darkly refreshing new work. Their work thankfully gives this column plenty of material to share.
We are digging deep this week. So deep. How deep? The enigmatic duo of Excurse resides somewhere deep in the Netherlands. Not much is known about the band, yet what is glaringly apparent is their penchant for doom. Their first demo, entitled Veiled, only tracks three untitled songs—relatively typical for a demo. The contents contained within the three songs are what is truly striking, however. The pair channels gripping emotion through raw, sludge-laden funeral doom.
"Untitled I" showcases whispered vocals through dense guitar work that builds an overall sense of unease. The track lurches forward at glacial paces; the voice crafting almost a chill in the air. Tempos (relatively) increase come "Untitled II". Veiled's central track plays like Candlemass at two-thirds of regular speed. Yet, instead of clean vocals, it sounds more like a guest appearance of Mizmor's A.L.N. Perhaps the demo's greatest moment is the 12-minute closing track, "Untitled III". A low-tempo groove emerges early on. It and the vomitous growls wash the track in a feculent wave. Even while this groove persists, the track maintains its lo-fi, funerary power. The track unfurls into the final minutes of static and distant horns, providing almost bookending sense of unease much like the opening moments had.
Check out Veiled below. The demo originally came out in June and some physical copies are still available through Worship the Tentacular God. Act fast because there is no certainty that there are many left.