"Reduced To Sludge"

By Dr. Abner Mality

The couple that slays together stays together! At least that's true for John and Jill McEntee of Funerus. This husband-and-wife duo don't play at a bridge club or go birdwatching for fun...they play repulsive death/doom metal devoted to subjects like raw sewage, insane killers and suicidal depression. Hey, it works for them!

Death metal fans will certain recognize John McEntee as the driving force behind the legendary Incantation and also as the head of the Ibex Moon label. Less known is his side project Funerus, where he leaves the guttural growls to Mrs. McEntee. When she says "take out the garbage" with the same gruesome roar she uses here, you better believe he snaps to it! She also plays bass for the outfit, which is rounded out by Mortician drummer Sam Inzerra. Funerus is not a million miles away from Incantation in style but there are subtle differences. Both bands focus on the slower end of the death metal spectrum, which has always made Incantation one of the primal death/doom bands. Anybody looking for happy stoner grooves or psychedelic influences here better hit the road...Funerus is pounding and brutal all the way through. In fact, they are a bit faster than I thought they'd be, especially on cuts like "Leatherface" and the charming "Bedpan Commando". But the emphasis is on medium to slow morbid riffing that chugs and drags.

The guitar sound here is also different than Incantation and Jill's voice is not quite as guttural as hubby's but sounds quite pained in a different way. Lovers of sick, low-tuned guitar sounds will go ga-ga over the likes of "Time of Death", "The Comfort In Depression" and the excellent title track. There is virtually no lead guitar soloing, which Incantation has in spades. The whole album has a morbid, oppressive atmosphere to it, which is so necessary for success in death/doom. If the album has one fault, it's an utter lack of any originality.

You can often tell an album by its cover and "Reduced To Sludge" is sure to make you go "Ewwww!" A real indication of what lies within. This is not on the same level as the recent Disma album, but should definitely appeal to the same folks. I hope John and Jill keep their partnership going for a long, long time!