Skepticism – Farmakon Review

Funeral doom is a whole area of music I am more or less unfamiliar with, apart from a little My Dying Bride – if they are even considered funeral doom. So with this release from Skepticism, I feel like the proverbial “stranger in a strange land”. The good news is that I am definitely reviewing this album “dry”. The bad news is what happens as a result. This CD starts off slow, obviously, and without any clear rhythm or cadence. The production is what I would call poor: washed and washed out; loud organ, quiet everything else; drums that sound like angry monks slamming bible covers shut after discovering some disturbing blasphemy scrawled inside; whisper-growled ghoul vocals and a guitar that may have been recorded from several light years distant. Now, if I picture myself in a rainy, foggy, benighted graveyard, cold and alone, mourning a lover now passed as a sliver of moon peeks through the clouds in the distance, covering the scene in nearly black silvers and dark blue grays . . . I’d still rather listen to something else. Song two is a little better, creating a passably moody soundscape, but song three just goes back to sounding bathed in bad production and at least one embarrassing edit. The music simply does not hold together, sounding like several different recordings of similar tracks edited in an attempt to fit them together without success. Instead of placing me in the song with the performers, it has the effect of keeping me second guessing them, wondering what it might have sounded like if the band were in the same country when they recorded. Mind you, it’s not the compositions that are the trouble. These could be some very effective recordings if the performances and recordings had been more cohesive. Even the length of the pieces, which average about 10 minutes, wouldn’t be a problem had the band and production worked better. There may be a doom aesthetic I am missing here, as well. Maybe there is something doom fans appreciate about the lackluster sounds this band presents, but for me, it kills any chance of appreciating the record. Bottom line is that this is just not a record I can recommend to anyone. Its few decent musical ideas are lost in the mire of flat, pointless production and performances. If the aim was to take you to a somber, joyless world of pain, regret, and sorrow, then knowing you paid money for this album would do the trick. I won’t be listening to it again.

Posted by Chris Sessions

I write for Last Rites, but in my mind it is spelled Lassed Writes because I am a dreamer.

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