“Fuscus: Strings of the Black Lyre”

By Dr. Abner Mality

The I, Voidhanger label sure has a nose for finding strange and unorthodox tidbits of underground metal. The awkwardly named Wakedead Gathering is one such peculiar beast and here they tell a tale of witch-hunting and vengeance from beyond the grave. I suspect the Wakedead Gathering is a gathering of one, as virtually all I, Voidhanger bands seem to be solo units. Nevertheless, they’ve come up with something really cool and macabre here.

“Fuscus…” is a concept album about the Great Grey Witch who is hunted down and killed in the depths of a murky swamp. Before passing, she utters a curse of vengeance against the ruthless community that has slain her. It’s a very King Diamond-esque tale and it’s told with sharp and clever lyrics. As for the music, it’s generally death metal that’s both quirky and murky. This album really does sound like it comes from a stinking swamp. The production reeks of muck and mire…very old school…but you can’t compare the song structure to anything off the top of your head. There’s an overall feeling of oppressive doom on every cut but the tempo can be quite rapid at times. The unusual riffing and changes of speed bring Voi Vod to mind, but never to the point of imitation. Black metal and even a bit of fusion can also be found. “Deepwoods Nonesuch” is a pounding brute of punishing riffs, “Amnioticysts” sounds sick and diseased and last track “An Ancient Tradition” brings the doom to the forefront. Needless to say, the croaking vocals sound like Swamp Thing narrating the tale.

I quite like what The Wakedead Gathering have done here. Apparently this is their third album but God knows where you can find the other two. This is something rather original in the death metal realm.