Review by Alex on April 18, 2020.
Downpour will do exactly what it says it will, wash you away! don't believe me? ask the vocalist. Hailing from New York, New York, Funeral Leech set out to launder and purge the underground with their death/doom downpour. Released through Carbonized Records, Death Meditation is the band's first attempt at the grueling full length format, 47 minutes of dejection and helplessness vibrate from the record; ever seen a New York sky on a rainy day in Fall, it looks utterly miserable, like the gods are taking a shit, that's how Death Meditation sounds.
Opening with 'Downpour', the album uses this track to set the tide, inciting an atmosphere that reeks of an overcast and gloomy character. The sound of rain, a few strokes at the piano, and an ominous chanting in the background usher in the grey and ominous pulses of death/doom and its business from there on out. In mantra-esque execution, 'Downpour' elicits anxiety with a negative projection, an invocation chanted that follows the spiritless throb and ringing of the guitars and drums, while the vocals hand-down a crushing yet reflective array of tormenting lyrics.
In this format, there are two main attributes I usually check for, deep vocals and a cold, unforgiving instrumental temperature, both are here and they're believable. Given the band resides in New York, it’s fitting for music this sort to carry and evoke feelings the same; though, I was a bit worried Death Meditation would apply a melancholic approach; however, there's barely any trace of it.
Those industrial burnt, chem-bruised skies can really take its toll on you if you let it, and Funeral Leech appears to have had some running with the grey fug hovering over the shitscape of New York. That may strike a chord with anyone who has spent enough time in the area as tracks such as 'Lament' and 'The Burden of Flesh', elevate and even paint a mental image of the emotional distress some surroundings can conduce and aggravate. Even without having a sad tonality, Death Meditation erects a feeling of impending doom; movement within the songs intensify among variation in pitch and pattern, like a weight carried on one's shoulder, the pressure is magnified with time until having reached the moment of finality, 'Morbid Transcendence'.
'I Am the Cosmos', atlas one with the stars, Funeral Leech's music on Death Meditation meets its final destination. For me, the best song alongside 'Morbid Transcendence' and 'Lament', though with this entry, it does not take long before you realize how much better structured it is. A bit more on the atmospheric side, all the while emitting a more vigorous, dense and brutal tonality, the eclipse of Death Meditation if you may, 'I Am the Cosmos' brings the material to its lunar conclusion.
I could recommend some songs to check out before committing to a full-fledged listen, but the album possesses too much of an organized and cohesive temperature, somewhat more aligned with a concept or better, a procession; therefore I'd recommend you listen to Death Meditation as a whole to avoid robbing yourself of its total effect.
Rating: 8 out of 10522