Fvnerals – Let The Earth Be Silent Review

The German duo Fvnerals, so serious about their downcast craft that they opted for a ‘v’ to avoid even suggesting the word “fun,” poses a challenge to the listener: how dark is too dark? How much do you crave blotting out the blue sky? Their dense, blanketing darkness is not the kitsch of gothic music that evokes cloaked and face-painted figures snapping their fingers in a groovy cemetery; theirs is the echoing deep of cold marble.

Release date: February 3, 2023. Label: Prophecy Productions .
Let the Earth Be Silent is Fvnerals’s third album (and first on new label Prophecy Productions), and it truly relishes the stasis of sustained chords, susurrating vocals, and patiently slow, precise drums. Tiffany Ström (bass/vocals) and Syd Scarlet (guitar) are joined by Thomas Vaccargiu on drums, and on this inky outing they suggest several hybrid styles of music. You could call it ambient black/doom, or perhaps chamber drone, or maybe even funeral post-rock, and you can likely hear elements of bands such as Lotus Thief, Sunn O))), Vouna, Nortt, or Cult of Luna.

The defining aspect of Fvnerals, however, is deliberate suspension. There is no great movement, no crescendo, no roiling drama. The album enters as it exits as it entered: despondently. Let the Earth Be Silent is an album that carries you to a dark clearing and holds you there, reeling in the void.

The album is single-mindedly bleak, sometimes so sparse and deliberate that it nearly dissolves. “Annihilation” is a great example, starting with an eerie build, adding in a Sunn O)))-type cyclical riff, crashing and churning while the vocals mutter in the background, then pulling the floor out around the 4:15 mark. 

Let the Earth Be Silent is also stirringly beautiful, though its sadness can feel almost antagonistic. The vocals are typically done with a lovely but deadened affect, and on the few occasions when they flit about somewhat more freely, they are swiftly pulled back under the grasping, clawing weight of the guitars (as on “Yearning”). In the last minute of album closer “Barren,” Ström’s contralto nearly escapes, but still the deep root tone of the bass and organ have the last word.

If your day is going just a little bit too well and you need to bring it down a notch, Let the Earth Be Silent is a capable companion for wallowing in a comforting sort of misery.

Posted by Dan Obstkrieg

Happily committed to the foolish pursuit of words about sounds. Not actually a dinosaur.

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