Saturday, April 16, 2011

Get into: Fungoid Stream

Funeral doom is essentially a garbage genre. There are numerous extremely talented funeral doom artists but far more hangers-on who heard a Remembrance album and thought "Hey, I can do that too!" It's a necessary evil of the style: funeral doom is hardly technically demanding, and just about anyone with a month of experience on guitar can bust out any funeral doom riff or lead. More egregiously, though, the funeral doom scene itself has almost no quality control. Since funeral doom is stylistically nearly impossible to fuck up, the worst material just tends towards the mediocre, which makes separating the signal from the noise a dicey prospect.

However, there are a few bright lights out there, and Argentina's Fungoid Stream is one of them. It's up in the air whether all the instruments in Fungoid Stream's music are synthesized (including the guitar and bass), but it really doesn't matter when the sheer compositional elegance of this band is such a wonder to behold. Fungoid Stream makes Lovecraft-inspired funeral doom much like Thergothon did, but with a very different, wandering, nearly ambient take on the idea. Their sound is unique, unquantifiable, and always fascinating.

Thergothon used Lovecraft's imagery to evoke a sort of cosmic despair and dread: the knowledge that you're a tiny fragment of dust compared to the size and power of the rest of the universe. They did songs about endless rituals, sparse landscapes, and perpetual, dark mysticism. Fungoid Stream on the other hand seems much less concerned with human emotions. Their songs are simply wandering, ethereal descriptions of places and things beyond mortal comprehension. Calling this funeral doom is almost doing them a disservice: they quite frankly sound so different from anything else in the genre that they stand alone.

Distorted guitars are pushed far into the background and the programmed drums ignore any conventional rhythmic sense, echoing and cracking out into the void of the sparse, digital production while delicate clean guitars and choral synths slowly waltz through the movements of a given track. Every instrument, even the vocals, sounds glassy and fragile, like the slowness of the music is necessary so everything won't simply shatter. Listening to a Fungoid Stream album is like feeling your corpse get carried down a river towards the ocean. There's nothing in the world like it.

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