The German outfit detail the moving ambience of their latest dark endeavor.
Words by Luis (@heaviestofart):
On February 3rd, the doom metal ranks welcomed Fvneral's Let The Earth Be Silent — a patient yet rewarding listen that reels you in with each passing minute. It shifts gears and keeps you on edge as each track explores different threads of an expansive sonic tapestry. This third LP follows 2016's Wounds in towering fashion, arguably considered to be band's strongest full-length yet. For founders Tiffany Ström and Syd Scarlet, Let The Earth Be Silent is a byproduct of admirable work ethic and camaraderie.
From the visual companionship of Anton Novozhilov to the elegant instrumentation sprawling upon hitting play on the opening Ashen Era, Tiffany and Syd cement the culmination of their growth, which also serves a conduit for emotional expression. "The songwriting for Fvnerals has always had a therapeutic aspect to me," comments Syd. "It has been used to address my chronic depression and I think it's a continuation of that. The mindset is similar, but pushed further I guess."
Fvnerals are an insular band, but Let The Earth Be Silent allowed for them to broaden their outlook a bit more towards the circumstances that shaped their lyricism. "Until now, we were focussing more on ourselves and never really addressed our feelings towards what surrounded us, and this album was maybe the opportunity to enlarge our field of vision a bit," adds Tiffany. That said, the album says a lot without being quite specific, leaving much in the realm of interpretation to the listener. Like the cover artwork adorning its presentation, Let The Earth Be Silent is certainly an ambiguous work with many layers waiting to unfold. Though there are moments where the message is made clear through their lyricism, one is encouraged to find commonality on their own terms. "Although I think the album title and themes leave very little to the imagination if you understand its references, the music itself can always be felt and transcend our vision," says Tiffany.
"Even if we live in a world where everything creative is dissected, over-analyzed, and people expect or feel entitled to have everything explained and justified, we like some mystery," adds Syd. "We like not knowing everything. We like to use our imagination and we believe there is beauty in creating your own connection, your own meaning." Despite a clear intention, beauty will always truly be in the eye of the beholder, and Let The Earth Be Silent allows free reign for viewers to let their imagination roam.
Anton's cover illustration is simply the ideal starting point to a living, breathing body of work waiting to be explored. The work of the Estonia-born contemporary photographer, who mixes photojournalism with studio photography, drew the duo and led to the eventual audiovisual pairing we see today. "We came across his work online and loved his photography aesthetics and creativity," says Syd. "We instantly fell in love with that particular image as it seemed to somehow illustrate our album perfectly."
It's a decades old practice for bands to license existing artworks for use on their musical projects, but it's uncommon to have the two avenues coexist so seamlessly despite being created on two separate timelines with unique purposes. Syd continues, "The conflicted relationship between on one hand nature; in all its ruthlessness, encapsulated by the dark and ominous spiraling branches, wildly tangled, grey, surrounding and holding everything; and on the other hand this naked curled-up body, powerless, trapped, fragile and alone. One slowly swallowing the other despite its apparent power to be its demise." On Let The Earth Be Silent, one would think Anton and Fvnerals shared the same creative process. "Our common ground was solely based on our own view of his creation. It is very likely that Anton's initial creative intention would differ entirely from our interpretation, but like with a lot of powerful abstract art, it can be open for interpretation, which is part of its charm and timelessness." Despite the aforementioned separate timelines of inception, Fvnerals breathe new life into Anton's artistry, and vice versa.
The intentionality extends to the music videos as well with Simona Noreik putting together a brilliant video for standout track, For Horror Eats the Light. This is not the first collaborative effort with Simona either as the two have partnered multiple times before to help establishing the band's visual identity. For Fvnerals, that holds a great significance. "We have always paid attention to the aesthetic surrounding our music, to complement our albums without overpowering them and in a way let the music do the talking," offers Syd. "When it comes to the band's identity, we like simplicity and strive to have a non-egocentric approach. We try to not put ourselves on display too much, so our album artworks and videos hold a very important place in what we want to communicate with our songs. We have been very fortunate to have great people contribute to this in our time as a band." Developing art in the form of covers, merch design, booklet illustrations, and videos should be more than a mere marketing transaction, but one of understanding for all parties involved. For Horror Eats The Light is what you get when partnership is done right.
Tiffany adds,"We also incorporated visual elements into our live shows early on. We have been using discrete stage lights for quite some time and we have projections created by Simona whenever the venues we play allow us to do so." Live immersion is a feat in an of itself, so the use of Simona's projections alongside the band's hypnotizing atmospheres is something to bask in. One could compare it to that of Amenra, who stray from the ego-centric and allow the instrumentation and accompanying visuals to tell the tale.
With Let The Earth Be Silent, Fvnerals presented a new gem for purveyors of doom to wander in, one that is as riveting as it is solemn. Anton's spiraling cover is only the start of a journey best felt in solace.
Let The Earth Be Silent is available now via Prophecy Productions (Order).