Funeris Nocturnum

Code 666: Religion Syndrome Deceased

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Ever bent on perpetrating what the bandmembers like to call "anti-Christian extreme metal," Finland's fast-evolving Funeris Nocturnum has come a long way since the unschooled black metal aggression of its debut. Now armed with its third opus, 2003's Code 666: Religion Syndrome Deceased, the sextet boldly sets its sights on the symphonic-minded avant-garde, as the band's vicious guitar onslaught is fleshed out with ambient synthesizers, cold industrial nuances (see "Vulpine Paralogism"), and ample guitar harmonies. As a result, album highlights such as "Yer All Perished," "The Walls Bleed Larvae," and "Antigod Declaration" strike a good balance between the overblown orchestrations of Norway's Dimmu Borgir and their countrymen Mors Principium Est's more economical and straightforward approach. Crudely growled death vocals and unerringly swift tempos are still the order of the day, but Funeris Nocturnum also displays a deft touch for the occasional breakdown into atmospheric dynamics. A very solid effort whose only downfall may be standing out of the pack in this overcrowded subgenre.

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