When this one landed I was intrigued enough to pick it up and give it a quick play. Call me easily swayed but there is something about a band that replace their U’s with a V that adds an air of mystery to things. It no doubt stems for an early infatuation that I had with Psychic TV who were doing this long before the likes ov Behemoth littered their song titles with clichéd markings. Drawn to Fvnerals a band residing in Glasgow but originally from Brighton, like a moth to a flame I quickly found I had been somewhat burned and pretty much went up in cinders as a result. With Wounds (should they have called it Wovnds) the outfit have crafted such a depressing and joyless musical experience it simply had to go straight on my review pile. Well you know what they say about misery loving company and if it is somewhere you fancy wallowing come right in.
7 drab songs are played out in somewhat descriptive one-word titles over 39 minutes of music. Luckily sounds this moribund and downbeat can also be quite beautiful and although shades of black and grey perpetuate the realms Fvnerals walk it is not one without grace and elegance. Slow harmonic pulses take us into their ‘Void,’ notes are stretched and elongated as they pretty much drone out. Things slowly take form and as the album title track takes shape gorgeously hypnotic vocals are added to the mesmerising doom laden musical tones. The press mentions the likes of True Widow and King Woman artists I am not that au-fait with but others such as SubRosa, Undersmile, Joyless, Darkher and even looking right back Portishead are present in what I am hearing. Vocalist Tiffany has a gorgeous and entrancing touch about her going from dismal sounding and monotone into rafter hitting soars. Guitarist Syd strums one note repetitively, drenching everything in a feeling of abject gloom and misery and occasionally drummer Chris seems to be prodded into life to hit some monolithic, slothful beats. The overall effect is as close to a wrist slitting experience as any of the DSBM mob could ever hope to achieve. It’s delicate and gorgeous, atmospheric and dark and despite the minimalism behind it one can easily find it packed with heartfelt emotion. Songs are long and leave you absolutely wallowing in wretchedness and leaving you feeling like you have trudged from one burial to the next. ‘Teeth’ exists in a fugue like state where everything is completely lifeless apart from the sermon of slow sounds and bleak choral vocals. To many this would be a dirge that just plods on and on but no doubt it has effectively touched those who have witnessed it “live” (that word seems wrong) as the band are currently traipsing their way through the UK on a string of small venue dates. Personally I can see this going down perfectly at a festival like Roadburn and if I decide to venture out of a hole and catch the band at play I would totally expect them to suck all the remaining life left out of me.
There’s not a whole lot more to say here, there’s no massive difference between numbers to evoke a track by track dissection, the mood is consistent throughout. It’s a case of pressing play here and surviving the bleak touch from beginning to end. You may make it, you may not, you may even as I have fallen somewhat in love in the process. You won’t come out unaffected that’s for sure as these wounds definitely leave scars!
(7.5/10 Pete Woods)