This is the second full length album from French Doom outfit Modern Funeral Art, its titled "Doom With A View". Some might say a silly name for a Doom album but this recording is looking at and taking Doom Metal to a different place so i guess the title is actually very fitting. They have a very unique sound as they take the Goth Doom elements made famous by early Paradise Lost recordings, give it some early Cathedral type riffage but throw in a curve-ball with melodic rock passages that could have come from Soundgarden or any number of 90's hard rock bands. Their first full length album recorded in 2006 called "Hellfire" showed they had potential and this album shows they have realized that potential in full force with a complete and interesting piece of work that takes Doom Metal to a place where there is no boundaries to what a Doom band can do.
The first track "State Of The World" hits hard from the opening seconds with a Gaz Jennings type of riff, crunchy and thick similar to the sound Cathedral got on their Soul Sacrifice EP. One of the first things to surprise is the vocals of Arnaud Spitz, he has a early 80's (dare i say) new wave kind of voice but it works very well in the context of this Doom band. It is charismatic and earthly and he does a good job of getting across the messages contained in the songs and there is a lot of those. Once again, they avoid all the obvious cliched traps that most Doom bands fall into and deliver meaningful songs that make you think rather than just a vocal line to go along with the music. "Sol Invictus" is heavy on the Gothic Rock tones with big symphonic sounds and haunting melody lines while remaining very heavy. This track and the album closer "The Dance" have a more up-tempo groove than most of the other songs and at times verge on a more Progressive Metal sound. The main riff in "The Dance", is a twisting, swirling yet melodic example of metal chugging and this seems to be Modern Funeral Art's strong-suit.
Third track "Alexander" pays tribute to the one and only Alister Crowley, Alexander was his birth name for those who haven't researched Crowley to that extent. "Alexander" is a great track with beautifully constructed lead breaks and the cold, haunting vocals of Spitz is perfect for the story being presented. "Mary Jane Kelly" is a short folk-based acoustic tune, not the best track on the album but provides a interesting interlude at the halfway point in the album. "Dante In The Dusty Woods" is my choice for best track on "Doom With A View", great riffage coupled with a unique vocal melody line sets this piece apart from the others. With the right balance between powerful mid-tempos and classic riff work, the track unleashes some raw energy without sounding predictable or mainstream within the confines of a Doom Metal track. Ben Sangoi's drumming must also be noted for being strangely melodic and infectious which is a unique musical element in itself, after all how many drummers sound melodic anyway?
"Deathcode Of The Devil Worshippers" is a 3 part epic made up of three very unique and different sections, the first part sub-titled "Friends Of Hell" is a punishing mid tempo, melodic burner that is very intense and moving. Second part "Suicide Pact (you first)" is pure Doom Metal with a plodding riff slowly drilling its way through your soul and beyond. Haunting and melancholic but with a twisted, somewhat humorous lyric about teenage satanists obsessed with Black Metal and i think most of the readers will relate to this in one or another. It was a part of growing up for a lot of metal fans especially in the 80's and early 90's. While you can have a bit of a giggle at the words, there is also a serious message behind it all about how young people get sucked into this kind of hype surrounding so called evil music. The last part of the trilogy is "Around The Graves" and it features some of the best heavy duty riffing on the album as it churns along for over four minutes setting up a hypnotic groove that buries itself in your head and stays there long after hitting eject.
This is one of the most original recordings of Doom Metal released in the last year but what makes it so strong it straddles the fine line between Traditional Doom Metal and epic melodic rock. Even more unique is the amazingly original vocal sound that is unlike anything around in Doom Metal at the moment. Add to that the great musicianship, entertaining lyrical content, excellent full production and you are left with something that is full of a personality that is all their own. While Modern Funeral Art seems to get the "Goth Doom" tag a lot, i really don't hear too many Goth influences coming through on this. Its more of a mixture of sounds from the last 30 years of Doom rock that have been wonderfully put into a musical blender to create something fresh but also slightly experimental. It may be too unique or different for the more mainstream Trad-Doom listener but those open-minded enough to let in some new sounds especially with the band's vocal sound will be rewarded by this disc. A challenging and highly enjoyable album that surely must be getting favorable reviews, if not they can have one from me because i dig what this band is doing, investigate now. 9/10