Marche Funebre - To Drown

To Drown
Track Listing: 
  1. Into Deadly Marshes
  2. Valley Of Tears
  3. The Well That Drowns Me
  4. Regiment Of The Hopeless
  5. Of Dreams And Vanity
  6. The Dark Corner
  7. Lethe
Rating: 
3

Marche Funebre have an interesting take on doom metal. While still adhering to the traditional sound of long tracks with mournful chords, clean vs. harsh growls, and depressing themes, they also throw in a bit more groove and rock oriented riffs as opposed to trying to 'doom and gloom' everything all the time. Their debut album, 'To Drown,' can be pretty typical then for expectations of the genre most of the time. "Into Deadly Marshes" starts as the foreboding introduction to the music- soley guitar based- and it just drags on at the right pace. However, once "Valley Of Tears" hits everything changes. While there are no violins or piano parts, Marche Funebre seems to draw a bit of its sound from My Dying Bride with the scratchy, snarling vocals that waver between growls and more of a depressive black metal snarl. The clean vocals are the proper, depressed type, but they don't sound as good as the growls as they either try to be too operatic and come off as laughable or sound buried in the guitars at times. "The Well That Drowns Me" changes things up a bit with the ryhthms which is more a chugging, even paced song that forsakes the usual lengthy, constantly tied together chords. Here, the band seems to aim for more of a rock based sound, and it would sound pretty good if the clean vocals always didn't seem to sound like they were singing with an earthquake going on. Even the harsh vocals sound a bit strained in their lamentings.

"The Regiment Of The Hopeless" is a fine doom metal track as it gets rid of the clean vocals fr the most part and just goes for a straight howl-through. Here the vocals sound more emotionally pained than usual which is quite effective compared to either just singing or growling alone. The guitars also focus a bit more on the melody lines rather than heavy, chugging riffs and keep steady throughout most of the track, making this almost a full instrumental. It is also one of the shorter ones. "Of Dreams And Vanity" can get a bit too chaotic at times with the shrieking and the pace of the music, sounding more like black metal than doom metal. The shining example of the album though would have to be "Lethe" as FINALLY the clean vocals get their tones right, sounding similar to a band like Autumnia or Funeral. They stay steady and keep the emotion that they did when they were a bit too rocky, but don't make anyone feel like chuckling at how overdramatic they try to be. The growls are not as overlapped with shrieks and the music flows with its faster parts during the growls and slows down for the clean vocals, marking "Lethe" as proof that Marche Funebre DO know what they are doing.

No debut album is perfect, but Marche Funebre have all the right elements within 'To Drown' to make the ultimate depressing death-doom band of the genre; they may even surprass Funeral. However, the vocals may get on some people's nerves and the division between gothic rock doom and death doom may seem a bit too clear at times, making it hard to decide where Marche Funebre stands. The epic tracks could be a bit condensed as many of the riffs were just repeated over and over, but if they band adds more variation in th music, then the epic tracks could do very well if they have that 'trance feeling' to them that makes doom metal so hypnotic. All in all, a good effort, but only meant for those who really enjoy the hybrid growling and dramatic singing.

Label Name: 
Shiver Records