[8 June 2009]
PopMatters Contributing Editor
The Aramaic phrase “maranatha” is an intriguing one, appearing once in the New Testament, and depending on the emphasis of its four syllables, can be either interpreted as a prayer for the second coming (“marana tha”, “O Lord, come”) or a creedal declaration (“maran atha”, “Our Lord has come”). Whether you’re awaiting the Second Coming or if you believe it’s already happened, it hardly matters in the end, for Funeral Mist’s masterful second album is ready to crush your faith with the swiftness of stepping on a bug. At first glimpse, the solo project of Marduk vocalist Daniel “Arioch” Rosten, who performs all instruments save for drums doesn’t exactly seem to bring anything new to black metal, as the eye-popping, often disturbing artwork and anti-Christian rhetoric have been done to death, but delve into the actual music, and it becomes an altogether different story. The arrangements are peculiar, an assemblage of riffs and samples that ranges from unpredictable to disciplined exercises in groove, Arioch growling, gurgling, and spewing lyrics that come close to equaling the intelligence of French masters Deathspell Omega. The album’s blend of contagiousness and chaos is enthralling, ranging from the throttling speed of “Living Temples”, to the lurching crawl of “White Stone” (reminiscent of Celtic Frost circa 2006), to the shockingly introspective coda of the inflammatory “Jesus Saves”, to the effective use of choir on “A New Light”. That said, the one highlight just might be the towering, 12-minute “Blessed Curse”, in which wickedly catchy midtempo riffs interweave with a sampled evangelical sermon, accompanying it and mocking it at the same time, leaving an indelible impression.