Best viewed without Internet Explorer, in x resolution or higher. I try to learn about the band's style and what it tries to achieve musically to avoid giving unjustified critiques. It's after all only fair to evaluate the band's work within the parameters of the genre of which it considers itself to be a part. My research turned out little information about Satanic Funeral as it keeps a low profile. Its website says that it plays old school, raw, satanic black metal in the style of Beherit, Nifelheim, and Von, and that its members Night Of The Goat - Satanic Funeral - Night Of The Goat play in similar bands such as Lugubre, Misanthropy, and Mord, so I will take the typical, established, and generally accepted characteristics of this style of black metal as a given and basis of my evaluation, when reviewing its maiden and only release so far, Night of the Goat.
In other words, I am judging the music based on how it conforms to the formula of old school, raw, satanic black metal, which consists of cold, grim vocals, relentlessly buzzy guitars, thinly sounded drums, and raw production.
To me, Night of the Goat hit these benchmarks remarkably well. It keeps to the standards Night Of The Goat - Satanic Funeral - Night Of The Goat down to the intro, which has some goats bleating loudly to a brutal windstorm; a perfect prelude to the next 30 minutes of nasty and frosty black metal. Aside from the overall devilish atmosphere, here are the particular areas that deserve mention.
Song are short, with average length of 3 minutes, but are well-written if somewhat simple. Antihuman's vocal is mainly in the mid to low range, and comes across painfully strained, as if suffering from some unspeakable gruesome act.
Striid the guitarist plays in several other bands and it shows why here with good reasons. He has solid skills and a good ear for adding the right dose of melody to his cold suffocating riffs.
The vocals and guitars complement each other well and give the songs the needed push. Striid's work on the bass is also notable in an understated manner. The bassline is simple but not dispensable, and its sound audible but not intrusive.
Listen to the third track A Possession to Desecrate for some great exposed bass licks. Last but not least, the raw production makes it sound No Medicine For Regret - Mogwai - Rave Tapes the recording equipment was covered with a thick blanket, but it's fitting to the music. Each instrument can be heard clearly and easily distinguished, so some care was obviously put into the mixing to ensure that the album was produced with the right balance of atmosphere and technicality.
Remember, you can't expect crystal clear production from an old school black metal band, and criticize it for lack of it, it's just unfair and inconsistent with the genre. As it is, the coarse, gritty, sandpaper-like production really fits the music and the image. But here are the areas that hold me back from giving it a higher score. As much as I enjoyed the catchy guitar riffage, I am greedy and would like to see more frequent and extended guitar solos thrown into the mix.
Its sound could also stand to be more pronounced to make it more enjoyable Night Of The Goat - Satanic Funeral - Night Of The Goat jeopardizing the necro Danzig - Danzig III: How The Gods Kill the band was aiming for.
Also, as strange as it sounds, I think a wider use of blastbeats would really dress up the mid-paced songs of which there are several. Fast blastbeats would work wonder at balancing the doomy vibe in these slower songs while increasing their evil intensity. Lastly, there is a good sense of flow musically from Night Of The Goat - Satanic Funeral - Night Of The Goat to track; unfortunately this is somewhat compromised by sloppy ending in most of the songs and definitely ruined by the abrupt ending of the last track, where the Hold Me Now - Thompson Twins - The Very Best Of just ended seemingly in the middle of a passage.
The truth is, over-analyzing this kind of music is overkill. Baaien, Baaien Pootje Baaien - De Kermisklanten - De Kermisklanten school black metal is raw, grim, demonic, all packaged with an evil sound that might give casual fans a headache after an hour. It's an acquired taste, and meant to be viscerally appreciated by understanding fans. There are hundreds of similar bands out there like Satanic Funeral, wrecking havoc and churning out good music for the fans in their local and underground communities.
The music here may be formulaic, but it's meant to preserve a tradition and for the sake of diehard fans who really don't want anything else. These regional bands also serve the important functions of connecting with fans at the grassroots level, and offering them venues to experience black metal up close and personal at live gigs. Afterall, we aren't all lucky to be born in Norway. Satanic Funeral is a good US band that does all these things well, and if it ever plays in my town, you bet your ass I will get mine to the show.
Down Fer Nowt - Meatlocker - Meatlocker, Kohde - Vladislav Delay - Entain, Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong - Porgy And Bess, No Ar... - Tunai - Tunai, Various - Absolute Beginners (The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)