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Haiku Funeral - 2009 - "Assassination in the Hashish Cathedral"

(53:27, Hikikomori Records)

TRACK LIST:                   

1.  Haiku Funeral 5:49
2.  Assassination in the Hashish Cathedral 5:14
3.  Let the Drug Sick Visions Begin 7:07
4.  The Jewelery of Suffering 5:43
5.  The Forever Book of Smoke 7:32
6.  Night Liquid Mother 7:34
7.  Funeral 3:17
8.  Black Asylum 8:15
9.  The Failing of Feathered Light 2:56


DiM  electronics; vocals
WmK  bass; vocals

Prolusion. The international ensemble HAIKU FUNERAL is one of the few bands around sporting more nationalities than members, formed in a recording studio in France one late autumn night in 2008 by Bulgarian black metal veteran Dimitar Dimitrov and US born William Kopecky, the latter known for his work in a multitude of progressive and experimental rock bands on both sides of the Atlantic. The end result of the French encounter between these two artists was issued in August 2009 on the Danish label Hikikomori Records, in a limited edition of merely 50 copies.

Analysis. Those familiar with the output of either of these two musicians from previous occasions should be forewarned on one matter: This album ventures quite a bit outside of what either of them have been involved in previously, at least to my knowledge. "Assassination in the Hashish Cathedral" preserves one trademark feature of both musicians though: a sinister, brooding darkness. The overall musical style of this production resides somewhere in the electronic sphere. Synths and electronic noises make up most of the moods and atmospheres in these 9 constructions, which bear stronger resemblances to sound collages than traditionally-made music. You will have to listen long and hard to find clear-cut melodies or melodic themes here, with various forms of rhythms, most often provided by Kopecky's hard, aggressive bass guitar, as the most constant element with a resemblance to an ordinary composition. Describing the contents of this disc as experimental will probably not come as a surprise by now. The moods and atmospheres conjured up by this duo are of a dark and sinister variety. Sounds from hell might be a useful description, but as that evoke associations in the direction of black metal and similar music it isn't quite satisfactory. Sounds from your innermost nightmares are a term I find pretty accurate myself. Or perhaps a soundtrack lifted directly from the nether regions of Purgatory. Multilayered, fragmented, decaying electronic textures make up the essence of these constructions. Dark, brooding, evil textures beneath and lighter, cold, clinical ones above create intriguing contrasts when both sets are utilized simultaneously. More often than not we're limited to a variety of dark sounds only though, with the aforementioned bass guitar of Kopecky underscoring and various forms of mostly creepy rhythmical noises accompanying them. Subdued spoken word passages from Kopecky and dampened, guttural noises from Dimitrov make up the final elements. The end result is evil-sounding ventures, sometimes coming across as futuristic seances from a dystopian universe of so far unknown deranged qualities, at other times as the final moans of souls tortured in hell for eternity. The atmospheres created are filled with hopelessness, bleakness and despair, yet most times with a passion of sorts. The duo doesn't come across as clinical in any manner whatsoever; there's a great deal of emotion amidst the terror-filled, bleak sonic tapestries. Personally I find this album intriguing in general, but some of the sound collages are too overwhelming, others to some extent too repetitive. There are limits to how long a particular set of sounds can be explored in such a setting, even when the subtler sounds and samples come and go to create a feeling of variation. In short: the momentum is missing on some occasions, which for me is a distracting feature.

Conclusion. Those who generally tend to enjoy music described as dark, evil and sinister might also want to check out the efforts of Haiku Funeral. Its evil-sounding, experimental sound constructions are somewhat of an acquired taste, but I would imagine that those who found a creation like Celtic Frost's electronic track "Totengott" to be fascinating could have an interest in purchasing "Assassinations in the Hashish Cathedral", too, as this effort shares many of the characteristics of that particular release, although in a more sophisticated manner.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: April 20, 2010
The Rating Room

Related Links:

Hikikomori Records
Haiku Funeral


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