CONCRETE FUNERAL – Ultimum Judicium

CONCRETE FUNERAL – Ultimum Judicium

You get a concrete funeral when some very evil men put you feet first in a bowl full of liquid concrete, wait for it to dry and cast you in a lake or river, or, better yet – when they cast you whole alive into a concrete house foundation base and stir it up, smoothening the surface. When you get Concrete Funeral, the Jon Asher/Asher Media Relations-promoted Canadian band, you get very good death/thrash with exceptional riffs, melodies and solos in the vein of Exodus, Testament, Slayer, Megadeth, Anthrax, Death and Hypocrisy among others.

The band, featuring Devin Schum (guitars/vocals), Jesse Lindbeck (lead guitar), Paul Mercer (bass) and Connor Erhart (drums), has been around for 4 years but "Ultimum Judicium" is not only their first full length but their first recording to date. The album has every mark of a powerful debut: fairly original and crazy riffing, incredible energy and freshness, impressive instrumentation and flawed songwriting, although, it must be emphasized, it is very good for a debut. Produced and mixed by Devin Schum himself, the album is relatively short, just barely over 29 minutes, a clear nod to Slayer’s infamous "Reign In Blood", although this one has only 9 tracks, including a curse-laden weird intro.

Two tracks that stand out from the pack are "Drown" and "Carnival of Contradictions". Especially the former is hands down some of the best 1986 Slayer-sounding stuff in recent memory, proceeded by an impressive intro a’la Megadeth’s "Five Magics". "Carnival of Contradictions" starts out similarly to Testament’s "So Many Lies" and then waxes a bit progressive, recalling the best of Bay Area. Most of the other tracks sit somewhere between the best Slayer, Death, Anthrax, Testament and Megadeth material yet, again, with high degree of originality.

Although this is Concrete Funeral’s debut, songwriting is already in its toddler stage but there’s one track I don’t care too much for, "Toxic Fuck", with everything sort of thrown together and the thrash-to-death transition not as smoothly handled as in the other tracks. Much better in that respect is the closer "Stabbed To Death", with excellent, catchy Bay Area riff turned heavy Behemoth toward the end, with a palpable potential for more.

As far as debuts are concerned, "Ultimum Judicium" is an impressive if flawed piece of work, one which brings to mind sensations we got from firstfruits of Warbringer or Evile but with a lot more death metal edge to it without sacrificing the thrash, with the greater emphasis on impressive performances and originality rather than buiding quality songs, especially with that unpolished raw, Metallica-before-Metallica sound courtesy of their frontman. Most impressively, Concrete Funeral simultaneously takes care of the emulation phase and shows potential for their own niche, already with marks of their own style.