New Jersey’s hard hitting Funebrarum has been serving old school death metal done right since 1999. Featuring veterans of legendary acts such as Evoken, Disma, and Assück (just to name a few), failure was never an option for this DM war machine. A solid debut later, along with 2009’s soul ravaging “The Sleep of Morbid Dreams,” Funebrarum are going as strong as ever. With an upcoming appearance at Rites of Darkness, a February 2012 European “Dead of Winter” tour with Undergang, and a brand new EP, there was no shortage of topics to cover with guitarist Matt Medeiros.
Let me first thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. You have a lot of gigs coming up and an EP on the horizon so things must be crazy for you and the band.
Things are definitely very busy. It’s a very exciting time for Funebrarum.
How did it feel to return to Maryland Deathfest?
Maryland Deathfest was great. It was the first show we played since the release of our album “The Sleep of Morbid Dreams” (Cyclone Empire Records). As far as record-release shows go, it was long overdue but well worth the wait for both us and the fans!
You must be stoked for Rites of Darkness. Who are you most excited to
share the stage with?
There are so many excellent bands on the festival roster. Cianide and Dead Congregation crushed at MDF, Cruciamentum killed at Killtown Deathfest, and General Surgery is always great live. It will be great to see those bands again. Evoken and Disma feature Funebrarum members and are both monoliths of brutality. It’ll be great to see Interment live. We did a split with them back in 2007. I’ve never seen Mitochondrion or Anatomia. Basically I’m going to try to check out every band possible! The line-up is all killer, no filler!
Since The Sleep of Morbid Dreams, you guys have been hitting the road
hard, recently doing Killtown. It seems as if the band had a blast! Do you have any good stories as well?
Well we’ve only played four shows since I joined the band in 2005. We are ramping up now since Alex Bouks joined the band on guitar. The whole Killtown experience was amazing. Really professionally run, great venue, great bands, great fans. I guess the funniest thing was when we finished the set, the crowd wanted an encore. We didn’t have any more songs ready. So this one really drunk guy jumps up on stage while we’re breaking down and starts grabbing everybody and basically drunkenly demanding we play more. When we told him we didn’t have any more, he yelled “Then just play Grave Reaper again!!!”
What attracts you about the touring lifestyle? Do you prefer European
audiences to those in North America, and have you enjoyed any of the venues far more than others?
Touring is awesome because you get to see a lot of different places and bring the music to the fans in a very direct way. It’s different than getting an email from someone who likes your record, you’re feeding off the crowd’s energy in the moment and they’re feeding off yours. It’s the awesome power of live music, especially metal. Talking to the fans is awesome because we’re also fans. I love finding out what’s going on in smaller scenes that I wouldn’t know about otherwise, trading demos, and checking out zines. It’s tough for us to tour extensively because of work and other responsibilities, but it’s always great to play to a killer crowd. I’ll have a better answer for you once we get back from our first
European tour early next year!
Can you tell me about your upcoming Euro tour with Undergang?
Funebrarum is embarking on “The Dead of Winter European Tour” in February with Undergang from Denmark. We start in Denmark, and will be hitting Germany, Spain, Italy, France and a few other places. Venues and dates have not been finalized, so I can’t say too much as these things can change quickly, but the team from Killtown Bookings is putting it together, so we know it’s going to be an awesome experience. Prepare to be brutalized!
How’s your upcoming EP shaping up, do you have a release date yet?
What can your fans expect?
We are doing a split EP with Undergang for the tour. We are recording a new song, “Delusions in the Fortified Womb”. The lyrics were written by Takaaki Ohkuma from the classic Japanese death metal band Multiplex. Musically you can expect crushing brutality in the true Funebrarum style. Dark riffs, morbid harmonies and total fucking death!
Collectively, the members of Funebrarum have a massive and varied
musical resume, from Assuck, to Evoken, to Disma. Do you find that
your other projects have a significant influence on your current sound?
We’re all very busy with a billion things. Right now the members of Funebrarum are actively involved in Evoken, Kalopsia, Disma, Abazagorath, Goreaphobia and Incantation. These projects certainly inform our playing, and more importantly, help us keep our chops up, but when Funebrarum comes together, we know that we want to write material and have a sound that is faithful to the band’s legacy of Dark Brutal Death Metal. I know the difference between a Kalopsia song and a Funebrarum song, Alex knows the difference between Goreaphobia riffs and Funebrarum riffs, etc. Funebrarum is in large part about ignoring everything else that is going on in metal.
Is there a concept or idea that’s been driving the band lately,
musically or thematically?
Musically there’s been a strong focus on churning, morbid atmospherics, regaining the focus on some of the elements from “Beneath the Columns of Abandoned Gods”. We’ve just started the writing process and things are going very well so far. Thematically we will stay within the decrepit, slithering catacombs of a nightmarish wasteland saturated by the tormented wails of the dead. We’re pretty happy there, haha.
What are your thoughts about the recent resurgence of OSBM?
I think it’s awesome that people have gotten back into the style. Anything that exposes fans to killer bands is ok in my book. It’s also good to see some classic bands getting the recognition that evaded them for years. Of course, with any resurgence comes a fair number of imitators and posers. I hope the scene continues to thrive without becoming overly saturated.
With retro-thrash, bands like Municipal Waste and Toxic Holocaust will still be standing while others have fallen to the wayside or moved on to other things. The same is true for Funebrarum. We make this music because we love it, and will do so whether we play for 10 people or 10,000. We just kinda got lucky that our album finally got finished and came out at a time people were ready for it.
In your opinion, what is the most criminally underrated metal band?
Immolation. Those guys rule so hard and keep getting better. They always bring it live.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, who are the most obviously overrated metal bands? Do you want to touch that one?
I’m not gonna take anything away from anybody’s success. At the same time, I don’t really keep up on what’s popular. There are lots of bands (and sub-genres) where I just don’t “get it”, but I’m hardly a taste-maker. If I had to pick two albums off the top of my head, I’d say “Slaughter of the Soul” and “Heartwork” are totally overrated. Both bands released far better albums that get less acclaim. Get off my lawn!
What five songs do you have on heavy rotation right now?
Gonna have to do albums:
General Surgery – Corpus In Extremis – Analysing Necrocriticism
Pig Destroyer – Terrifyer
Death – Human Reissue
Kalopsia – Death Starts the Horror EP
Vasaeleth – Crypt Born & Tethered to Ruin
Gwynbleidd – Nostalgia
Who absolutely killed it in 2011?
Morbid Angel killed something, I’m just not sure what, haha. I’d have to say that my brothers in Disma and Goreaphobia put out awesome records this year. And Sonne Adam has a crushing new record out. If that wasn’t enough, Autopsy’s “Macabre Eternal”… well, nuff said. Let’s just say that 2011 was a killer year for fans of brutal music.
Photos by Summer Lacy