Funeral Diner – Underdark

Funeral Diner

If you’ve been paying attention these last couple of years, you might have noticed that Funeral Diner has been making some awesome records. If not, I feel sorry for you, but now is your chance to play catch up. On The Underdark, Funeral Diner manages to step its game up another rung on the ladder. I mean, this is near perfection in the genre. This time around, the band is following in the footsteps of City of Caterpillar and Envy by adding some interesting post-rock elements to its songs a la Godspeed You Black Emperor or Mono. Funeral Diner had hinted at this with the first track from the Wicked EP that was re-released last year by Alone. Although its attempt at incorporating intricate melodies in with some of the grinding harsh noise fell somewhat short of the mark, it has been more than made up for here. The changes are not as jarring as those found on City of Caterpillar’s full-length but are instead incorporated into the entire songs.

“Decline” begins The Underdark by building interlocking guitar sections with plenty of effects pedal madness. The instruments become entangled with each other in a web of washed-out delayed guitars and subtle drumming accompanied by tasteful basslines. “Collapsing” opens the record up a little more with strained screaming and the more familiar sound of Funeral Diner’s earlier work. This song is used to showcase what I was talking about before when I said that the band had incorporated its textural shifts into the songs. The singer is screaming his guts out, but the music is mid-tempo and the guitars are clean with more of the effects like in the opening instrumental track. There are moments when the guitars get loud and distorted, and they certainly won’t be lost on any fans expecting to hear something like the last full-length, Difference of Potential. Just when you think that the spiraling guitars couldn’t possibly build up any more, the song ends. “We Become Buried” begins immediately with a palm-muted clean guitar before breaking full force into some noisy fucked up strumming and high-pitched screams. Plenty of starts and stops follow as the song breaks into fast, faster, then fastest mode.

“It is Good That We Never Met” shows an even darker side (no pun intended) to The Underdark. The band stretches its legs out with this one as the song reaches upwards of almost nine minutes. Eerie keyboard tones are incorporated that bring to mind maybe Song of Zarathustra, VSS, the soundtrack to any Castlevania videogame, or even the black metal bands that the cover art itself hints at. (Note: If you are in a record store and you see this record, pick up a copy of any Bathory record and compare the cover art.)

The album ends several songs later with the spectacular “We All Have Blood on Our Hands.” Guitars screech and grind to a halt, abruptly ending this sweet ass thrill ride with the listener wanting more. Yes indeed, Funeral Diner has outdone itself with The Underdark. If you like any modern hardcore at all that emphasizes real feelings and emotion over attitude and irony, then this is for you. I can’t wait to see where Funeral Diner goes from here because it can only get even better.