Vera : Doom/death metal remains quite an elitist subgenre in metal; but fortunately we also have some perseverant bands in this style in Belgium. Marche Funebre is one of them and they caught our attention already with their debut album ’To Drown’ in 2011. Since then they played at several festivals in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany and kept having feeling with the international doom scène. In addition they regularly locked themselves into the Motormusic Studios in home town Mechelen to canalize their inspiration on a sophomore disc. ‘Roots Of Grief’ turned into a more than an hour homage to in-depth grief and rage, showing the so-called maturation of the band.
‘Roots Of Grief’ has turned into a monumental and quite impressive work. The album kicks off with two compositions that stand on their own, songs of considerable length. In the thirteen minutes long ‘These Fevered Days’ one can hear a sure-fire interaction between low-pitched greasy grunts and clean chants. Vocalist Arne Vandenhoeck gets inspiration from peers in the genre like Mourning Beloveth (as desperate as their clean vocals) and even from the iconic Nemtheanga from Primordial when he wallows through more excited fragments. Harmony vocals (guitarist Peter Egberghs also does a meritorious vocal contribution) and any tempestuous accelerations prevent this doom mist from getting bogged down in a Walhalla of inertia. Let me put it straight that gracious leads are one of the salient features in most of the songs of Marche Funèbre. The a-capella lamentation at the beginning of ‘As In Autumn’ captivates. These moaning and groaning chants even descend towards guttural growls, while a raucous death metal climax regales us with a grand finale.
Then Marche Funebre enters a new concept, spread over five songs. With hesitating guitar notes they walk into ‘L'Avenue Des Coeurs Passes’, an opus we could watch in a live situation before and in the end it appears to be one of the highlights of ‘Roots Of Grief’. Why? Well, this twelve minutes long epic takes us on a musical journey where quiescent moments fluently pass into wrath and lust, sublimated by the ever present serpentine solos of these guys. Spoken parts and whisperings in ‘Nothing To Declare’ create any mysterious semblance, a proper ingredient of doom metal. Clean vocals in the latter one are not what they should be now and then, but when the title track comes around as a furious, tight amalgamate of death and black metal we can ignore that. After the brief interlude ‘Bleak’ we finally have ‘Crown Of Hope’ which is indeed a crown on this work with a metallic interpretation of the classic death march. This epilogue wanders through clean vocals for a long time, finally going into crescendo with heavy riffs. This happens to be a proper ritual full of despair with any bliss of hope that occludes this second work of art from Marche Funebre`.