Over the years, the concept of horror has changed – what frightened us decades ago came in the form of shadows under your bed and monsters in the closet; the noughties were visceral and graphic, with the torture porn genre seeing a blood-splattered boom every Halloween; and now with films like The Witch, The Babadook and Lights Out, it seems it is what is inside of us that terrifies us most.
FVNERALS tap into this introspective fear for their art, which, if you hadn’t guessed from their name, is doom-laden and monochrome.
There is something eerie about motionless musicians making this kind of music – as Tiffany (vocals/bass) and Syd (guitar) start off their set, they are focused and channelling clean tones and bass rumbles and smoky vocals, just like horror’s evolution over the years, modern doom is stationary and inward-looking.
You are torn between nodding your head along to Chris’s funeral dirge drum beat or standing equally still and letting the music wash over you – there are plenty of post-rock influences when things comes together in a catastrophic crescendo, and FVNERALS captivate an audience like the best of them.
There is something hilarious about exuberantly applauding after each track: it is the equivalent of applauding getting caught in a rainstorm or surviving a near-death experience.
Each song is emotionally draining that to clap at the end is like being slapped out of a coma.
All of this is meant in the best possible way – FVNERALS have played festivals like Doom Over Leipzig, saturated with monstrous and hairy dudes creating a stomping sludge metal assault, but they stand out because their heaviness manifests through mood and emotion.
Sure, they can rock, but they are equally devastating when they are delicately navigating through the darker parts of life.
They know how to structure a set too – Tiffany holds back on her vocal range at first, until a number of songs in when she really lets go and it feels like the music is expanding; what starts off as intimate and hypnotic becomes cinematic in scale.
Yet, it all feels immensely personal; this truly is introspective music and no matter how loud or how subtle it gets, each listener is going to take something unique from the mood, the melodies, the marching beat, the hypnotic loops.
Despite keeping things at a deliberate pace, FVNERALS are exciting – they demand you lean in and make a connection, and you are rewarded fully with emotional music that really does take you somewhere.
They currently stand out in a modern musical landscape by daring to go to places that others have not been able to reach – so, both live and on record, they are rewarding in a way that no one else is.
This is high-definition doom that is tapping into modern worries and fears.
What scares us and causes our anxieties has changed, and FVNERALS are the soundtrack; all that is left is to thank them for it.
Words: Scott Wilson
Photos: Claire Maxwell