Back in the early 90s, doom and stoner were pretty much the uncoolest of genres to be associated with. Playing fast and brutal was the order of the game and those who still clung to the belief that Black Sabbath were the coolest cats to ever strut their stuff were roundly ignored in favour of blastbeats and death grunts.
Now of course the tables have turned and everywhere you care to look you’ll see groups of scruffy young urchins in flares and suspiciously new looking Witchfinder General shirts being hyped to oblivion by record labels eager to show just how hip their latest purveyors of fuzz really are. If they sing about Satan; even better!
Now, without wishing to sound completely cynical, many of these bands are talented, hardworking and deserve to do well. After all, Sabbath really is the greatest and there’s no disputing it. Unfortunately however, there are numerous bands riding the coattails of this retro-rock/doom/stoner trend and Houston, Texas’s Funeral Horse are one of the worst examples.
Debut full length Divinity for the Wicked (Artificial Head) has a stripped down, no-frills sound that reduces the songs to the bare bones of hard rock and stoner. Sadly, the songwriting is generic in the extreme with riffs being repeated over and over with little thought for progression. When the members eventually do decide to switch tempos or riffs, the transitions sound clunky and amateurish. Add in some inexcusable long pauses during and between songs, a production thinner than Kate Moss and terrible, out-of-tune vocals and you’re left with a record that isn’t fit to serve as Wino’s drinks coaster.
Hopefully the band will note their failings on this record and return to some of the Sub Pop influences they displayed on earlier EP’s, as there’s really no place in such an overcrowded genre for something this weak.