Funeral Chic – Roman Candle


Is there a variation of the alpha male with a nihilistic slacker side to his personality? Can he be the hunter and the stoner? American speed metal punks, Funeral Chic, like to rock, drink and fuck, and they’d seduce your daughter with cheap beer and weed if they could. Of course, they’d ride off into the distance with her on their Harley Davidsons. You need to consider their lyrics to understand the spirit of Funeral Chic. “How many laws can I break in a day?/ As many as I want/ As many as it takes/ I’m a wild man and I do as I please,” warns, vocalist, Dustin Carpenter on ‘Born to Kill’. Are you ready for the ugliest rock & roll this side of Midnight?

How does one describe Funeral Chic? How about Venom in their ‘Too Loud (For the Crowd)’ phase with the guitar tone of Melvins and the brooding menace of Danzig? Carpenter sounds constipated in the way he shreds his throat with the huskiest of snarls during the staccato violence of ‘Made in America’. Let’s hope they hand out ear plugs at their live concerts. ‘Spit and Crawl’ is the type of blackened punk rock Stälker and Hellripper like to defile with heavy metal vehemence. The sludgy neo-thrash metal of the title track delights in its transgressive noise pollution. You’ll have your shirt swinging over your head in no time to this beast.

As with any speed metal band in 2022, we must always ask if the tongue-in-cheek lyrics and filthy rock & roll guitars are a nostalgic throwback or an attempt to redefine the present. Funeral Chic care nothing for carving out a new sound, yet they understand the need for the listener to enjoy their art. ‘Satisfaction’ reminds you what sleazy heavy metal could sound like if given a sludge-thrash makeover. It’s playful and menacing, but it also ends with saxophone squeaks. Did Motörhead ever sound as good as the Hellhammer-meets-Mudhoney concoction of ‘Built to Love’? Maybe we can call it the satanic blues and retain a straight face.

It’s no crime to rock out or to imagine yourself as an anti-hero, and Funeral Chic do both without compromising their heavy-duty riffing. ‘Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere’ takes the best of early Celtic Frost and the heaviest of the MelvinsStoner Witch record and fuses the two like salt and vinegar with predictable consequences – it’s loud and proud. Only on closing track, ‘Two Headed Dog’, do they lose you with a pentatonic stoner rock swagger. You want a more imaginative song to end the album, but they give you three minutes and twenty-eight seconds of sub-standard rock & roll disguised as metal. At least its predecessor, ‘Last Line Blues’, takes Black Sabbath and Cathedral and bastardises them with malevolent laughter, wolf howls and saxophone shredding.

Punk would be a lot easier to enjoy if it sounded like this whirlwind mess of noise. They used to play black metal, but little of that remains in Funeral Chic’s repertoire these days. It won’t start a revolution, but Roman Candle deserves a hearing.

JVB


Verdict


Release Date: 29/07/2022

Record Label: Prosthetic Records

Standout tracks: Spit and Crawl, Roman Candle, Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere

Suggested Further Listening: Hellripper – The Affair of the Poisons (2020), Venom – Possessed (1985), Midnight – Let There Be Witchery (2022)