When I pulled this disc out of its packaging I was instantly bewitched by its cover-art. The image attributed to Francesco Menicocci is really rather stunning in its grotesquery and just had me staring at it for ages. Reminding me of a book cover of some arcane 70’s fantasy novel it just had all sorts of questions going on in my head, not least of which what on earth can the music that goes with it conceivably be like. It would look even better on vinyl in full glory but even on CD it was difficult to tear myself away from it. Musically Funeral Marmoori (and I have no idea what a Mamoori is) are an obscure Italian psychedelic doom act and yes it is quickly established that they are worthy of such striking imagery. Apparently they released one album prior to this Volume 1 on Blood Rock Records back in 2012 and have played live with our own Orange Goblin at the Stoned Hand Of Doom Fest in Italy.
The album quickly establishes a retro flair that has much in common with the likes of Deep Purple and Arthur Brown and bridges the gap between revivalists of olden times such as Jex Thoth, Blood Ceremony et al. One of the most striking things here are swathes of groovy Farfisa organ which literally drench the fragrant songs. Although they headily entwine the music, as far as I am concerned they do not become overbearing in the slightest and really flirt somewhat mischievously along with everything else.
A dense sound has The Deer Woman bristling out the thicket before some flare stomping beats take us back to garage days and that organ sound sweeps in. Vocals from Capitano are confident and have a clean and strident swagger about them corresponding with the pomposity of the music. Melody is thick and cloying and the combination of it all is great making you want to get on down to it, bang your head along and bounce around. Some spiralling guitar work meanders through it, getting some solo attention and by the third or fourth listen this like most of the album will be going round and round in your head. An elongated riff bridges the gap between this and the devilish ‘Boletus Satanas.’ It’s slightly slower and more reverential, the solemn charge of the pipework bringing cloaked acolytes in to worship. You can almost smell incense as it has you swaying along before it canters off into a jaunty and cheeky flourish making you more than aware that this band might be invoking dark things but are doing so in a fun and enjoyable fashion. You could certainly look back at Italy’s proud and progressive horror flavoured music from the 70’s here too, the likes of Paul Chain is referenced in the biog details and the palpitating bass groove on ‘Last Sip’ owes plenty to a Fabio Pignatelli played Goblin passage with a black gloved killer stalking down dark corridors.
Judging by the vocal performance on ‘Drunk In Hell’ someone wants to buy the vocalist a round as his impressive pipes soar upward around the flamboyant musicianship. The band seem to be naturally jamming away, they never quite go for the freak-out keeping things honed and tight, somewhat restrained but always on the edge of tipping over the precipice and descending into pure madness. It sounds like a hit of a water bong may be partaken before a slow and graceful flow into ‘Hunter Lies’ has the music oozing out and drawing you into its fold. It’s all part of the band’s magic, as it builds and gets heavier with the rhythmic thrust and the beseeching vocals really hitting their stride. There’s even a death grunt before it does gallop away for a minute although the chase is a very short one. A fuzzy sound takes us in to last official track ‘Petronica’ which has some strange sounds via retro keyboards (apparently a Juno synth) and another captivating vocal performance and even a quick drum solo.
This was just a perfect end of year tonic for me, turning up just before a couple of weeks near hibernation and casting a warm glow about everything. The album is not quite done here either as there is a cover of Death SS number ‘Profanation’ to wrap it up. If you are tempted by this, which you certainly should be, a quick search around shows that most likely source to track down The Deer Woman is going to be via the label directly. If word gets out about Funeral Marmoori I really can envisage great things in the future for them on the strength of this
(8.5/10 Pete Woods)