- Year 2016
- Genre DoomFuneral Doom
- Country Japan
- Label Weird Truth Productions
- Rating Solid
Japan’s Funeral Moth has put their own spin on funeral doom for the better part of a decade now, though you may not have come across them before. ‘Transience’, which was released via singer/guitarist Makoto Fujishima’s record label Weird Truth Productions earlier in the year, is the group’s sophomore effort and is comprised of two lengthy songs spanning about forty minutes in length. Though the funeral doom tag might bring to mind sweeping piano/organ melodies or crushingly heavy, sprawling riffs, Funeral Moth takes a much softer, minimalistic approach. Coming through as a bleak yet strangely calming listen that has more in common with drone and bands like Earth than some of its doom peers, this is likely to be an acquired taste but those who it clicks for will find it to connect on a deeper level.
It’s almost strange to define a bleak, somber doom album as calming, but that’s the best word I can think of as I’ve made my way through it
Coming in at nearly twenty minutes shorter than its predecessor, ‘Transience’ is built around minimalistic and droning, stretched out riffs. Even in comparison to most funeral doom or doom in general, Funeral Moth’s approach feels even more glacial and sparse, which might catch some listeners by surprise the first time they hear it. Don’t expect build-ups into crashing, super heavy climaxes, as the level of distortion and overall volume that each song begins at is close to where it ultimately finishes. Yet that’s part of the appeal for me, as the way that each piece is able to establish a bleak and solemn atmosphere has a strangely calming effect. It’s as if rather than channeling the crushing depression of one’s worthless existence and the harshness of death, Funeral Moth has already accepted their unavoidable fate and has entered into a reflective, trancelike state. It’s almost strange to define a bleak, somber doom album as calming, but that’s the best word I can think of as I’ve made my way through it. Admittedly that’s likely to make ‘Transience’ a somewhat acquired taste, as it stays at around the same general volume the entire time and demands patience to take in the details. But fans of Earth and other drone/ambient that focuses on this type of sprawling instrumentation will likely get the appeal of what the band has written.
‘Transience’ is an album with a lot of extended instrumental breaks, but whenever Makoto Fujishima’s vocals do make an appearance they grab your attention. With the instrumentation taking a somewhat restrained, softer approach to its distorted riffs and sparse drums, Fujishima’s lower growls hang over the air with an almost otherworldly presence. Though his pitch may not be quite as deep when compared to pioneers of the funeral doom genre like Skepticism, they’re just as bleak and hopeless and often sound like a demon coming to drag you to the beyond. It helps that they often appear out of thin air, giving a sudden blast of harshness to the material, before fading right back out. The decision to space the vocals out instead of making them a constant makes the performance have a greater impact, and works to the band’s advantage.
What Funeral Moth has written is just as dreary and hopelessness as one could want from their doom, but the way that it arrives at that point is very different. It’s going to appeal to a certain type of listener, who has the patience to get swept away in its droning, stretched out riffs and head out on the journey alongside the band. Certainly if you have a short attention span, this might not be for you. But if anything I’ve described so far sounds enticing, ‘Transience’ comes recommended. Put some headphones on, close your eyes, and prepare yourself for death and despair as you travel into the unknown.