Jan 3, 2012

Rose Funeral - Gates of Punishment

Genre: Melodic / Death Metal / Deathcore
Release Date: 2011

It seems everything that can happen to a band has happened to Cincinnati death dealers, Rose Funeral. Various lineup changes and a lengthy silence from the band after their last album "The Resting Sonata" finally gave way to the band releasing its latest album "Gates of Punishment" quite easily their best work to date and definitely one of the greatest metal albums released this year.

Legions of Ruination- The opening track gives a bit of a reminder that Rose Funeral havent strayed too far from their roots, it's got a dark opening followed by a few moments of musical rage, not the most original opening to an album ever but certainly Rose Funeral fas won't be dissapointed.

Grotesque Mutilation- This track begins the introduction into the somewhat new style that Rose Funeral has on "Gates of Punishment". The music is just as punishing and skilled as it was on previous releases, but there is a  much more prominent melodic death metal influence with amazing riffs and some very refreshing guitar solos along with drumming that pummels away behind the searing vocals that lyrically aren't far from the beaten path when it comes to Rose Funeral. As far as songs go, this is definitely a good example of what listeners can expect throughout the rest of the album.

Beyond The Entombed- Okay this is why I love this album! This song definitely is one of the many very high points on "Gates of Punishment" not only does it incorporate the ruthless shredding and musical ability that is displayed all over the record, there are also little symphonic peices included in this track that not only keep listeners listening but it also has the added effect of enhancing the feel of the song and the album as a whole giving it a bit of a more sinister sound than just the fury that the band has always so very well portrayed. This willingness to include an element not yet really heard in their music is what makes Rose Funeral a great band and "Gates of Punishment" a great album.

False Divine- Following the previous track, Rose Funeral return to doiug what they do best, slamming music that makes them a sheer joy to listen to. The song is very recognizable as Rose Funeral's work at the very least on their new recording. The song is quick paced and just as blistering as one would expect a song from Rose Funeral to be. Steve Tucker makes an appearance before the track closes, adding some vocal variety to the song and again, shows the band's ability to keep things interesting.

Arise Infernal Existence- Another battering song that shows Rose Funeral aren't letting up anytime soon, halfway through the record they keep true to form of extremely talented members and a very excellent understanding of song structure. The shortage of breakdowns is a bit more noticeable on this track and that can be either a good or bad thing depending on one's taste. Although breakdowns are present, Rose Funeral has learned to use that musical tool sparingly so as to not make their songs repetative.

Malignant Amour- And again here is an especially brilliant moment on an already brilliant album. The inclusiveness of symphonic instrumentals along with Kate Alexander's ethereal guest appearance along with the grinding music and already amazing vocals make this song a personal favorite on the album. Everything seems to have come together on this song to make a fantastic and very spooky song which is in no way a negative thing. The band may want to consider doing another song simmilar to this again, it's some seriously amazing work.

A Recreant Canticle- Theres something rather comforting that this band can make so many songs that do not much else but whack a listener over the head with a musical crowbar and not once manage fall into the trap of making songs that sound exactly like the others. It's still apparent that the members of this band are not only competent with their instruments, theyre amazingly talented. The music is amazing all around and each instrument complements the others. One would think that it would get old listening to songs like this nearing the end of the album would have gotten old but thanks to Rose Funerals amazing abilities, it is nowhere close to being old.

The Desolate Form- The Desolate Form brings out some of the angriest most aggresive lyrics on the album that of course are right at home with the brutal heavy music that will be very familiar to listeners at this point, this song seems most reminiscent of older Rose Funeral music having a few more breakdown moments than other songs have had and that's not a bad thing, it's a nice moment of nostalgia devoted fans will be happy to hear on this album that has shown the band evolving from its previous sound.

Entercism- This is a fun song, lyrically what seems to be demonic possesion and maybe its just this reveiwers opinion but it's an amusing title as opposed to the word excorcism. And of course this all layered over the impecable music that makes this song a jewel in an already amazing collection of songs.

Amidst Gehenna- Just to show they aren't finished, Rose Funeral start this song swinging on what may be the darkest most brooding aggressive song on the album. The hateful lyrics and the music that seems to be played with the sole intent of hammering listeners relentlessly and the vocals designed to tear into a listener's very essence, it's an evil evil and yet oh so good song that leaves a trail of musical battering in its wake.

Gates of Punishment- On the final, title song of "Gates of Punishment" brings all the elements from this album together to bring one final onslaught of music that will leave fans craving more. The song seems done when the classical interlude begins but as it ends, the band returns to remind listeners they are every bit as brutal at the end of the record as they were at the begining.

Rose Funeral are one of those bands that deserve to make it big. The latest offering by them further cements that fact as not only have they proven they can make brutal music with the best of them, but also are perfectly willing and able to step out of their comfort zone and challenge themselves, however breifly with something new. That challenge has definitely succeeded making "Gates of Punishment" an absolute pleasure to listen to for anyone interested in heavy music and also a precursor of amazing things to come from this group of absolutely wonderful musicians.

Rating: 5/5