Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Funeral Diner - 2007 Doors Open [12'']

Band : Funeral Diner
Album : Doors Open [12'']
Release Year : 2007
Genre : Screamo | Emo Violence | Post-Rock

Tracklist : 
1. This Wrath
2. Carved From Stone
3. Neither Option
4. Head of Vecha
5. This Optimism

Doors Open is a Funeral Diner-album often overlooked in favour of The Underdark, the record commonly hailed as the band’s magnum opus, and is almost solely remembered for being the last release from the band. However, it is a great creation in itself and further pushed Funeral Diner’s musical progression.

Most instrumentation on Doors Open builds on a steady rhythm section. Drummer Matt Bajda, excellent as always, is able to keep the songs together on his own, allowing the rest of the band to depart on very brief instrumental adventures, built up by only a few notes or chords. And that is what Funeral Diner is all about at this point, as the songs are indeed very repetitive during certain passages and it is only these small effects in the instrumentation that keeps the listener’s interest. Perhaps the best example of this is the last build-up in the album closer, This Optimism, where the roles are switched; in this case, a long, monotonous melodic line is played by the guitars while Matt Bajda drums away with various fills until the final crescendo, an effective and sudden way to end the album.

While Funeral Diner have always fallen back on the long, slow-moving melodic passages popular in the emocore scene, they have now almost completely left this approach, instead opting to build a more consistent pace the songs throughout with only very short interludes, if any at all. This creates a not-so dynamic album and to solve this problem Funeral Diner varies the tempo between the songs rather than within them. Neither Option, for an example, is a very calm song which constantly fools the listener that a release of emotions will follow after a specific passage, but only at the end does this happen though not in the way one might expect. Both the lyrics and the vocals are a step-up for the band. Seth Babb has traded his earlier hardcore-yell for a much cleaner and smoother vocal style which he only seldom utilised up to this point. During climaxes in the songs his old barks are instead replaced by a more high-pitched scream in the vein of a band such as The Saddest Landscape. The lyrics trotted out are no longer about politics or humanity at large, instead conveying a sense of isolation and unfulfillness though they are vague and open to interpretation.

There are however some weak sides to the album. It takes some listens to understand the point of Carved from Stone and Neither Option. The latter creates another problem: the overall running of the album. It is noticeable slower and less multi-faceted than the rest and, while being a great song on its own, it stalls. And this is perhaps the weakest link. While The Underdark was crafted as an album, Doors Open is, in the end, merely a collection of songs without the coherence and mood set by its predecessor.

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