There are fewer bands in the traditional doom scene that get as dark and morbid as Fvneral Fvkk. Their take on the genre is closer to late-era Woods of Ypres or My Dying Bride circa The Angel and The Dark River as the riffs have a solemn, grandiose air and the vocals echo a sorrowful baritone with the occasional punctuating rasp. The lyrics on their first full-length album follow the sex-religion symbiosis that had been set on 2017’s Lecherous Liturgies EP, tackling sex abuses in the Catholic Church with more harrowing sincerity than their edgy kvlt moniker would suggest.
Appropriate for such subject matter, Carnal Confessions benefits from a sinister yet dignified presentation. The production is clean but not excessively polished, giving the guitars full vibrance and the drums a greater sense of impact. This isn’t exactly a place for powerhouse belting, but the vocals’ mid-range wails carry a stirring mix of strength and detachment that is further reinforced by the clerical layering. At the risk of hyperbole, this album truly does sound like it was recorded in a cathedral.
With that in mind, the songwriting is admittedly tricky to get a feel for. The pacing will likely be monotonous to all but the most doom-minded, keeping to an exclusively slow, steady pace that is often broken up by somehow even going slower. This isn’t exactly an ear-catching record either; the riffs provide an effective backbone and the vocal lines are carefully crafted, but there’s not much that’ll get stuck in your head for days on end.
Once the mood does sink in, the album reveals some strongly structured songs with two striking halves. The first half offers the heaviest songs with “Chapel of Abuse” coming off the prelude with bombastic guitar work and “A Shadow in the Dormitory” reaching into Triptykon territory with its almost grinding riff set. From there the second half takes a subtler, introspective direction as “Poor Sisters of Nazareth” makes the most use of a bass-driven slowdown with tormented samples and the closing “When God is Not Watching” riding an especially drawn out dirge tempo with sweeping guitar strums and funerary vocals.
While Fvneral Fvkk showed some promise on their 2017 EP, they greatly benefit from the expansion that comes with their first full-length. Their songs are at their best when they are able to fully sprawl out and the concept works to give the album even more weight than it would have otherwise. Its composition and delivery have a certain subtlety that takes some extra listens to understand, but fans on the darker side of doom are in for a rewarding experience.
“Chapel of Abuse”
“A Shadow in the Dormitory”
“Poor Sisters of Nazareth”
“When God is Not Watching”