Originally written by Ross Main.
I’m listening to this album for the fourth time before I start writing anything about it. It’s a Sunday morning (well 3pm), I’m bleary-eyed hungover to hell and I’m moments from seizing up in a pile of my own vomit as “Abolish the Pulpit” comes on. The distorted background cackle quivers through the cracks and plays havoc with my sense of balance and each thudding note is like a shot to the gut from a ten tonne fist. This sounds like a midnight nightmare in the mind of Devin Townsend. Surviving the sickening evangelical samples is hard work and when it all finally implodes into a melt of gargling and synthesized screeching – I’m out.
Don’t be put off though, up until today Funeral Rites for the Living was a rich and rewarding experience. Today’s vulnerable incapacitation is merely a sentiment to the immersive grip of this debut from Maine’s Ryan Scott Fairfield, and his solo project Hallowed Butchery.
Macabre doom marches through riffs cast in fire and brimstone are the lifeline of this record, but don’t be surprised to find the roars burning up in the atmosphere around spiritual acoustic passages, tribal flickers, odious moments of discordant nothingness and other layers of undefinable chaos. Fairfield’s lyrics are thoughtful and personal, as he explores environmental themes with different shades of mournful singing and damning cries; tackling a hatred for christian extremity with the aforementioned voices of twisted preachers.
The whole situation is never too far from crashing back into the slow motion collisions of crashing cymbals and viciously deep growls, exiting with a particularly unique yet suitable cover of Neil Young’s “After the Gold Rush”, honorably amplifying and continuing the subject of a dying earth to Hallowed Butchery proportions.
Whilst the main problem with this album is the proportionality of the section lengths, at thirty minutes long and thirty thoughts deep, Funeral Rites for the Living comes and goes all too fast. Reflection is futile and attention is demanded, as it is only truly in the moment can you appreciate and admire this colossal body of wrath that Fairfield has made and masterminded on his own.
So listen to it in good health.