Generally speaking, when I throw on some funeral doom metal, I’m looking for a slow, bleak dirge steeped in crushing atmosphere. Japan’s Funeral Moth eschew that formula and deliver nearly forty minutes of Zen on their second album, Transience.
Funeral Moth is the project of Weird Truth Productions’s label owner, Makoto Fujishima. Weird Truth is almost exclusively a funeral doom label, so Fukishima’s involvement is no surprise. What is surprising, however, is the take on the genre, at least with Transience. Containing only two tracks, Transience and Lost, Funeral Moth show us less can truly be more.
The title track, Transience, opens with two minutes of meditative guitar chords before the bass and drums make an appearance. Fujishima’s raspy/echoed growls start around the four-minute mark, and the listener is transported seaside for an exercise in dealing with one’s loneliness and/or despair. The guitar is the focus here, taking on the roles of the koto (harp) and shakuhachi (flute) in traditional Japanese music. The bass and drums serve primarily as emotional accents, adding weight to the proceedings. Can someone meditate to metal? According to Funeral Moth, the answer is “yes”.
Lost hearkens back to Thergothon’s classic Stream From The Heavens album. While there aren’t any dissonant keyboards, the instrumentation and vocals in the first five minutes definitely remind me of that album. The remaining thirteen minutes transition into the minimalistic approach of the title track. At this point, you really feel the emotional weight of someone who suffered a great tragedy sitting on an ocean-facing cliff debating on what action to take next. Should s/he get up and face it head-on or make the dive into peaceful oblivion?
Funeral doom is a divisive enough genre on its own, but Transience may divide listeners even further due to its different approach. For me, I found it a breath of fresh (ocean) air. Funeral Moth have delivered a subtly complex album of meditative atmosphere, and I’m very curious about their first album, Dense Fog. Everyone could use some more Zen in their life.
Special thanks to Transcending Obscurity PR for the complementary review copy.