1. 200 Years
2. In the Wake
3. Here the Sun Never Shines
4. The Nature of Betrayal
5. Plague That Leads to Extinction
7. Stealing the Air of Life
8. Ending the Reign
2006 Prosthetic Records, Creator Destructor Records
I suppose it's a good thing that there are metal bands who aren't concerned with adding pristine singing to every song. In all honesty, I no longer have patience for the formulas of bands like Atreyu, As I Lay Dying, and so on. It's obvious that their formulas work for them, but I don't want to have anything to do with it. Therefore, I'm happy there are still bands like The Funeral Pyre, who are focused mainly on creating straight-forward metal.
This sextet from California plays a ferocious style of melodic death metal, which is heavily influenced by European metal bands. Sure that's been done before, but I'm glad that this band hasn't thrown in four breakdowns per song, and poppy choruses just get to on MTV2. There's nothing that immediately grabs me about The Funeral Pyre's newest album, but there are some good things going on here, and this definitely isn't terrible. The Nature of Betrayal has eight tracks of blistering metal that heavily leans to the melodic death metal side of things, but has some black metal and thrash influences as well. To me, this band sounds like a mix of The Black Dahlia Murder and a sans-breakdowns Bleeding Through. Like the latter, The Funeral Pyre has a girl on keyboards that adds some melody and faux-atmosphere. For my tastes, the keyboards add very little to these songs, but, more importantly, they do not detract from the songs. A large portion of the riffing is melodic, but there are some dissonant passages here and there, which create a nice dynamic. I enjoy the all-out speed and aggressiveness of this album. These songs can get a bit repetitive, but musical talent is definitely present.
There are points in this album where some good ideas are not capitalized upon and that's a shame. This band is capable of doing some things to stand apart from the pack, but they just aren't reaching that point yet. There is a slower part in the fourth and title track, which sounds very haunting and builds up a nice tension. However, this part isn't explored as deeply as I think it could be. There are a couple of other moments like this throughout the album which brings it down a bit for me.
I have to tell you that the production is quite raw and unpolished, but I think it's great. I, for one, do not need a crystal clear, sterile production to enjoy an aggressive album. The overall sound of The Nature of Betrayal is very abrasive, which serves as a nice counterbalance to the more melodic side.
Bottom Line: This is a pretty good metal record, but I'm not completely sold. There's just not enough personality for me, and I've had my fill of melodic death metal for a long time. The members of The Funeral Pyre obviously have skill, and if they work on trying to develop more of a unique identity, they could produce some killer results.