Edition of 200 //
First off, you need to respect the fact that this album is called "Funeral Pyre" and as the different sections are broken down on the back of it into three, it goes from five to four to three songs. Imagine a body being burned on a pile of wood, slowly losing bit by bit and so the subtraction of each song as it is planned out on the back of the record just seems to fit with that line of thinking. But I must also warn you: this album is not for the faint of heart. This album is not something you will put on and listen to while you are also doing something else.
"Funeral Pyre" is a double record and if you don't know what that means it implies that it's long, yes, but it's also just... It's like the difference between going into a nice 90 minute comedy as a movie and then watching something that's maybe 150 or 180 minutes and goes by much quicker somehow. It's something you really need to invest your time in, sure, but it's also something that you need to invest a piece of yourself in because as a band, Ourfathers, has obviously invested a lot of themselves into this. It's definitely not an album to be taken lightly. You need to either be completely serious about this album and the devotion that goes into simply listening to it or you need to not even bother pressing play.
And I get it, believe me I do. Time is precious. There is more music out there for you to listen to now than ever before. Maybe you'd rather listen to the same set of songs you have been for the past few months over and over until you get bored and make a new sort of playlist. That's fine. I understand why people listen to disposable music and I don't fault them for it, but this album is in no way disposable and when you press play you're entering into a lifelong contract with Ourfathers that says you'll be listening to this one, you'll be affected by the one, forever.
Side A opens with this sort of chanting and then there is screaming in the background. The music likes to do that, as I think it has elements of post rock but also of screamo. There are these really quiet parts, just pure melody and singing to the point where it reminds me of Kings of Leon to some extent, and then it will just kick in heavier than heavy with screams and breakdowns that you just feel. It's like being stabbed in the heart, I would imagine. At one point there are bongos and by the end of Side A you'll hear strings but it just maintains this sense of being somewhere between melodic rock and hardcore.
Some of the obvious comparisons which come to mind right away are The Receiving End of Sirens. I can't tell you how much I love TREOS and I wish more bands reminded me of them. Then there are other classics like Thursday, Hot Water Music, Thrice, As Cities Burn and even Eleventeen. But what you have to understand and what I feel right away from just listening to the first side of this is that both musically and lyrically this is the type of album that I'm going to always keep with me, which is not something that happens with every album but it has that "classic" (in my mind) feel like "Illusion of Safety" (Thrice), "Son, I Loved You At Your Darkest" (As Cities Burn) and "Full Collapse" (Thursday)
"Martyred" opens up the second side with the force of Thursday. It breaks down into these words like "When we die, we die alone". which reminds me a lot of Park musically. There is also this theme on the previous side, between the third and fourth song, where the lyrics both state "We are all alone"and "I will die -- I will die alone" Of course with the album title "Funeral Pyre", you can only expect some talk of death, but I'd say "Martyred" is really one of the first songs that I strongly related to and wanted to sing along with after listening to it a few times. Yes, you will be able to sing along to this eventually, perhaps even during long drives, but at first, you must show this music the same respect it shows you.
It feels like all of the bands I loved in the early 2000's teamed up to form one superband full of screaming, singing, hate, anger, revenge, punk, hardcore, melody, beauty and just purity. If you are like me, you will appreciate how great this is simply because I haven't heard something quite like this in a long time. But even if you don't have that same musical path that I do, you can still appreciate how there are different elements in this one and just the energy of it, both in the way that it rocks and in the way that the overall vibes it gives off, should draw you in and never let you go.
"The Writhing Heart" opens with singing and it seems like it's a ballad but then when the next part comes through it's pianos and screaming: "Talk sweetly, love / Cause it's the last chance we'll get / Fall asleep, my love / I won't be here when you wake". This reminds me of On The Might Of Princes and Allison Ranger, though it gets into these huge builds as well and I just don't know if there is any band to compare this with exactly because I just feel like it's taking bits and pieces of all of my favorite bands and putting them together. Also, interestingly enough, as much as I think "Yeah, 'Martyred' should be the single here", I also feel like "The Writhing Heart" is just as important because of the end lines: "I found my life again / Realized the worth you thought you stole / Finding hope beyond your grasp / I'm chasing lights into the dark"
Side C kicks off as heavy as it should and in some ways I want to say that each of these two records could be their own albums, but I even really feel like each side is an album within itself. "Cronus" opens with the line "There's a beast inside of me clawing at my ribs" and has as much violence in it as you would expect based upon that idea. "I'm the only one to blame for the hell I bring" is the type of lyric I'd get tattooed on me and I don't even have any tattoos. What I like about this side as well is that "An Introspect Divide" also states that "You are not alone", which goes back to the whole feeling of how we all die alone from the previous two sides.
The last two songs are the end of this record and compared with the rest they are a bit slower, more powerful because of the lyrics but there is only really one point where they break down heavy and otherwise have this melody about them. I'm hesitant to say that "Funeral Pyre" should be in Album Of The Year type lists (though I will add it to the short list I have so far) because that makes it seem so final. It makes it feel like "Yeah, that record was good for 2018 but it's 2019 now!" This is something that I'll still be singing along with, annoying my neighbors with and just creating a deeper understanding and love for not just ten years from now but as I said earlier, forever.