Funeral – “To Mourn Is a Virtue” (2011)


Label : Solitude Productions

Review by Si Smith

Norway’s death/doomers Funeral have been around for a while now, although we haven’t heard from them since 2008’s “As Light Does the Shadow”. The album’s opener “Hunger” begins with a gentle melody accompanied by the trademark harmony vocals – harmony that is Frode‘s eventually branching off into doleful lead vocals. Female vocals have always been a part of Funeral‘s repertoire and for this album they are saved for the album’s end. Accompaniment is in the form of picked single notes and low-end chords that deftly creates their sound which is almost constant throughout the CD. Second track “God” is of a similar slow pace to track one, and occupies more or less the same acoustic territory. Some growling riffs punctuate the general funereal terrain of the song. Not as deathly slow as some bands of the genre, the lyrics are elucidated clearly enough to retain the listener’s interest. Again the focus is on harmonies, carrying us forward on a wave of solemnity. “Your Pain Is Mine” begins at the same pace once again, although slower interludes allow us to open our eyes to see wider vistas alongside the track’s main meandering. With “The Poison” acoustic soundscapes and an initially terser vocal style grant us new visions, after which the traditional soundscape returns and the pace quickens slightly, only to return us to the former once again. The lyrical content of the clean vocals again manages to lift the track above the dark depths we see below, until “Dancing in a Liquid Veil” introduces us to broader keyboard backing and synth backdrops. Grinding low guitar solo lines mix with the keyboards to usher in the remainder of this nine and a half minute epic. “How Death May Linger” once again mixes guitar and keyboard to create another nine and a half minute extravaganza. At this point to some listeners individual tracks may not appear overly distinguishable from others, but this is an album of completeness. The whole experience is neccessary to understand the album, even if at moments we forget quite where we are in the general scheme of things. “Father” somehow appears more orchestral, whilst “Blood from the soil” has some memorable moments. Final track “Wrapped All in Woe” is joined by the female vocals also, as choral backdrop and as ethereal main vocals. This appears to inject new life into the formula, offering a broader listening experience as male spoken vocals also intersperse between female melodies. In short, this album does what it says on the tin. It is slow paced doom metal, varying very little in pace but within that framework every nuance is made as beautiful as possible in its simplicity, whether it be male harmonies or female chorals. An album enjoyed more by listening to the whole than by analysing every track, I think. Just as a symphony is complete across its moevments, this can be seen as a doom symphony across nine movements. Don’t overthink it or you might lose the enjoyment of the entireity. A doom masterpiece of our times.

Rating – 80/100



  1. Hunger
  2. God?
  3. Your Pain Is Mine The Rest
  4. The Poison
  5. Dancing in a Liquid Veil
  6. How Death May Linger
  7. Father
  8. Blood from the Soil
  9. Wrapped All in Woe 


Line Up

  • Sarah Eick – Vocals on Track 9
  • Frode Frosmo – Vocals on Tracks 1,2,3,4
  • Øystein Rustad – Vocals on Tracks 5,6,7,8
  • Thomas Angell – Guitars
  • Christian Loos – Guitars
  • Kjetil Ottersen – Keyboards
  • Einar Andre Fredriksen – Bass 
  • Anders Eek – Drums 



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