Black Funeral - Scourge of Lamashtu
Iron Bonehead Productions
Black Metal, Ambient
7 songs (38:14)
Release year: 2020
Reviewed by Goat

How is this the first Black Funeral album reviewed here? The Texas-based project of Michael W Ford, the band have been active since 1993 with ten albums to date, and although Scourge of Lamashtu isn't the best thing to come from the band, it is a decent entry into the more atmospheric and ambient side of black metal. Spooky ambience and crashing waves begin the album in Kassaptu Lemuttu, like walking on the beach one night and stumbling across some dark occult ritual. The ensuing low-fi blackened rumble is slightly less effective, not least for a mix that buries everything except cymbals which at times sound as though they were next to your ear while the rest of the instruments are coming from next door. Still, the atmosphere is evil and the snarled vocals aren't too much of a distraction from the chaotic underlying black metal, something repeated across the album in, for instance, the sinister emanations of The Vampyric Rabisu at the Threshold.

And the songwriting doesn't differ much, aside from minor variations - the more strident Nergal (Lord who Prowls by Night), for example, the backing riffs simpler in their post-Darkthronean buzz. The ambient sections are probably most effective, the percussion and whooshing that opens Seven Udug-Hul setting the stage nicely for the ensuing raw metal yet if you are one of the select few who can appreciate raw black metal for itself, there is much to appreciate such as that track's tempo shifts into almost doom and then back up into near-thrashing. It has to be admitted, however, that elsewhere songs can lack anything that holds the listener in thrall, being competent yet not especially interesting blackened rackets the like of which we are all very familiar with. Fortunately the album prevents a dragging in the latter half thanks to the slow, stately riffing of Gidim Hul (Bloodthirst of the Demonic Dead) which speeds up a little but holds your attention with slightly more interesting drum and keyboardwork and a more wretchedly heartfelt vocal performance. It's hard to know quite who to recommend this sort of black metal to, as it's niche even for underground music, but those who delight in the deepest darkness may well find something to tingle their spines here.

Killing Songs :
Seven Udug-Hul, Gidim Hul (Bloodthirst of the Demonic Dead)
Goat quoted 60 / 100
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