Belgian band Marche Funèbre belong to the kind of bands that have grown gradually over the years. If their first long-distance work, To Drown, had received discordant opinions, Root Of Grief had already shown an important progression that was not yet enough to bring the Flemish band to the level of the best European death doom bands: the operation succeeds with this very good Into The Arms Of Darkness, to the satisfaction of the fans of the genre. It must be said immediately that the album revolves around a magnificent track like Lullaby Of Insanity, which enjoys melodic solutions of great value and imprints itself with a certain ease in the memory, despite its length is almost a quarter of an hour (the choice to combine it with a successful video is 100% acceptable); the result is optimal thanks to the brilliant solutions that go well with the versatile and heartfelt vocal interpretation of Arne Vandenhoeck, with the only drawback of a central recited break that, although functional at a lyrical level, inevitably ends up breaking the pathos of the piece. About the vocalist, it’s appreciable his ability to disentangle with ease between growl, scream and clean vocals, even if these last ones are not always stable in intonation, but this is compensated by a strong evocative charge; the natural reference at stylistic level can only be Stainthorpe, for the typical singing gait that we all have learned to love. Marche Funèbre‘s interpretation of the genre is as orthodox as ever and draws its sap from the tradition of Albionic death doom, giving it a certain melodic visage expressed by the valuable work of Peter Egberghs on lead guitar, but renouncing the use of keyboards, an instrument that in some moments would have been useful to fill a sound sometimes too dry (as for example in the closing track The Garden Of All Things Wild). That being said, Into The Arms Of Darkness is a record that starts off on the right foot since the opener Deprived and so it unwinds, first through another track with a similar trend (Capital Of Rain) and marked by always good melodic lines, then with a relatively different track for rhythm and construction like Uneven, full of tension in its initial part and then dissolving in a slow and more traditional sound flow. The conclusive episode is instead deceptive, because for 2/3 of its development it seems too much folded on the positions of My Dying Bride in their most static version, but it redeems itself with a final part of high emotionality: in any case, the sporadic drops are a venial sin when inserted in the context of a work of the full-bodied duration, not going to affect in any way the overall performance. Although perfectible at some juncture, the third full length of the Marche Funèbre is definitely the consecration, even if I think there are plenty of margins to do even better: the important moniker chosen weighs a little on the shoulders of the excellent Belgian band, creating in the fans as high as inevitable expectations that, however, on this occasion have been largely maintained.

2017 – BadMoodMan Music