Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Gunner Hansen's hard work pays off on Faustcoven's Hellfire and Funeral Bells

Given Trondheim's rich history and cultural importance, it's not much of a surprise that many bands from the area follow the chosen path of Black Metal. It's true that Norway lost those glamorous activities to some extent over the years from let's say when the second wave of black metal thing was going on but Norway still holds characteristic bands who are making quality music applying innovative ideas. As the whole old school revival strategy in the scene is going on, the breed of Faustcoven can be useful once they come in the limelight. Faustcoven's sound leans more into blackened doom side of things along with the first wave of Satanic sound from the 80s- imagine Necros Christos meets Hellhammer.

It's a little surprising that Faustcoven is still on the radar of a very specific group of fans as around ten years have passed since the band's inception with some demos and two full length albums previously under the belt. Maybe it's because of the fact that frontman Gunner Hansen, who handles the guitars, vocals and bass duties, is a full time Chemical Engineer if I'm not mistaken. So timing is an issue here. The addition of Johnny Tombthrasher in 2006 added strength and inevitably he became a key member. The duo made a great start on the album Rising from Below The Earth and the follow- up Hellfire and Funeral Bells carries the torch further with authorative song writing.

Art by Seth Bennett
About 5 months ago, the title track Hellfire and Funeral Bells was already floating in the Web and indicated a substantial release. Also add that it was coming out on Nuclear War Now! Productions. So it had all the makings of a monumental album. After a bit of delay which is never a bad thing given the amount of time and energy that goes into polishing a solid piece of work, Hellfire and Funeral Bells LP finally came out on April 4th. It's understood that Gunner worked hard with amps and guitars in order to make the sound as evil and crushing as possible. He posted, "I have also been working like a maniac with the guitar sound. Found a suiting rehersal room that can take the earbleeding volume of a classic 100W Marshall JCM800. And it has unfortunatly taken me a long time to get the hang of micing up the amp. This is very different from the simulated direct line in type I have done before. I probably spent something like 20 hours moving the mic back and forward and tearing my hair out. Now that this is straightened out I have finished up the guitar tracks for two songs tested some different mixes etc and will return to the others as soon as I have time. The songs at least are turning out good so far (Barbarian Wrath)." The final product was drenched in dense production and all the dedication which went behind the album certainly paid off.

The album runs just over 40 minutes with six tracks pouring vicious black/doom/ death which shatters everything above and below. Fans of every extreme genre will find something to cling into. Even there is a refined touch of heavy metal which alternates between mid and slow paced passages. The opening riff of the title track Hellfire and Funeral Bells is memorable along with the crawling lead work at the very end. The whole track Convent of Earthly Delights is one of the highlights of the album esp. the way it transforms, the track keeps ringing inside the head. Dr. Carswell starts off with a speech which then transcends into horrifying vibrance and outcry of mourning. When Faustcoven decides to dive into melancholic doom on Lost in the Forest of Suicide or Choir of Mentors, it shows the band is equally capable of producing  anguish and sadness filled with torturous vocals.

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