Some of you might remember a few years back when we reviewed If God Is a Drug by the offbeat experimental/post rock/black metal/ambient/industrial duo known as Haiku Funeral. Well, Dimitar Dimitrov (vocals/electronics) and William Kopecky (bass/vocals) are back with their latest bit of insanity, titled Nightmare Painting. Now four years into their collaboration, the Bulgarian vocalist and American musician have gone even deeper into the twisted recesses of their minds, giving us an album that is perhaps one of the most unsettling, yet unique, listening experiences in recent memory.
Make no mistake, Nightmare Painting is not an easy listen, but after you get through with it, you'll certainly know you've never heard anything quite like it. Filled with creepy, chilling sound effects, Kopecky's huge bass riffs & haunting clean vocals, and Dimitrov's evil black metal rasps & shrieks, Nightmare Painting could easily be the soundtrack to your worst nightmare. Lyrically, those into black metal will feel right at home here, as Dimitrov has crafted all sorts of horrific imagery that he delivers with his assortment of shrieks, growls, moans, and rasps, occasionally tempered by Kopecky's clean passages. Through it all, you can't help but fall in love with William's beefy, melodic lead bass lines & riffs, which sound completely out of place in such experimental black metal styled material, but somehow it really works. The duo keep you on your toes throughout, as they go from a ferocious black metal styled piece like "Behemoth Rising" to a more ambient, gothic tinged song such as "Raining Nightbirds", never giving you the same style from track to track. "Flags of a New Empire Burn" is a like a midnight jam session between Mayhem, Gorgoroth, and Marduk, expect there are no guitars or drums, just Kopecky's manic bass riffing, spooky electronic effects, programmed percussion, and evil, haunting vocals. The overall vibe throughout the album is quite creepy and often times disturbing, thanks in part to the dark ambient and post rock atmosphere that the band drenches these songs with, so don't expect an easy or bright listening experience but Haiku Funeral have definitely given us something well off the beaten path.
If the thought of jazz-fusion meeting up with evil black metal and spacey ambient drone sounds enticing, then you should definitely give Nightmare Painting a shot. Without a doubt this is one of the more unique albums you'll hear this year if you are up to the challenge, but all others might want to proceed with caution.
1. The Nightmare Door (1:55)
2. Blacklight Amniotic Erotica (4:13)
3. Scorpion Ritual (3:00)
4. Behemoth Rising (5:23)
5. Raining Nightbirds (6:08)
6. Flags of a New Empire Burn (4:12)
7. Death Poem (2:24)
8. Heavy Breasted Innocence (4:24)
9. Your Heart a Black Tunnel (5:51)
10. Damnation (5:55)