Swedish Death Metal has a very distinct sound about it popularized in the 90’s by bands such as Entombed, Dismember and Carnage to name but a few. This riff heavy, muddy, filth covered style has inspired bands the world over and still its legacy continues. Maybe it’s something about those thick riffs, or those gruff, aggressive vocals, or maybe even the Punk edge it appears to have but Swedish Death Metal just clicks. It’s a perfect combination of utter barbarity and melody that makes this sub-genre so popular yet underground.
One such worshipper at the tomb of Swedish Death Metal is Feral from you guessed it, Sweden. Formed in 2007 the band found their feet with their 2011 debut Dragged To The Altar which was later followed by 2015’s Where Dead Dreams Dwell. But now we come to 2018 and the release of Flesh For Funerals Eternal put out through Transcending Obscurity Records. But with so much Swedish Death Metal buzzing around the corpse of Death Metal can Feral awaken from an undead slumber?
To kick things off all of the traits are there, big heavily distorted riffs, pure hate fuelled vocals and a decidedly Punk attitude. So that’s all the boxes ticked but how does the whole album shape up, well there is certainly a good helping of memorability in Vaults Of Undead Horror, Black Coven Secrets, Of Gods No Longer Invoked, and Buried. Not to mention a decent amalgamation of melodic passages and brutality, most notably perhaps in Dormant Disease, as a whole this album hits all of the right notes.
There is one discrepancy however, and that is that this has all been done before, and better. If you look past the classic bands and more into the modern era we have bands like Bloodbath and Lik kicking out festering anthems by the dozen. Feral might have a good sound and a scope of catchy hooks but their best songs still come across more like Entombed B-sides. This clearly isn’t that much of a gripe as I’d take Entombed B-sides over a lot of churned out Death Metal but it is just worth noting that Flesh For Funerals Eternal may be good but it isn’t great.
So as you can see Feral linger on the cusp of success, I will praise this album, I certainly wouldn’t wish any bad upon the band and equally this release has at least captured my attention. I eagerly await the next release from Feral as I can see high times coming their way. With just that little extra push these cultists of Swedish Death Metal impurity could cultivate quite the audience. So I ask you now, prepare your blackened robes, grab yourself a sacrifice and head to the altar in preparation for Feral’s next offering.
(7/10 George Caley)