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Rose Funeral - 'Gates Of Punishment' (metalblade) 3.5/5

Sadly, these days Ohio death core outfit Rose Funeral are better known for an unfortunate and bizarre series of events from early 2010 that involved an internet flame war, a popular card game and a violent altercation between the band and concert goers, than they are for being musicians. This is a shame for incidents like that can haunt a band for the rest of their career and detract from the music they produce. Anyway 18 months or so on from said incident they have just issued their latest full length album on metal blade records.

Rose Funeral play death metal in the Behemoth, Cradle of Filth vein and they do it fairly well. There are 11 cuts on offer here, and they range in quality from the passable to the fairly noteworthy. There is nothing too out of the ordinary on this album. On the opening track, Legions of Ruination, you have the standard Black Sabbath cloned intro, all doomy and rain soaked sound effects, so beloved of death bands since the beginning of time, that rips into a relentlessly paced Behemoth style work out with death grunt vocals and the obligatory melodic shred guitar solo, which leads into the very similar sounding Grotesque Indulgence. 0/10 for originality, but I'll still give it a good 8/10 for delivery. Beyond The Entombed features are rather short and seemingly pointless piano intro before ripping into more standard deathcoreisms including the obligatory doom plod middle bit.

However it does get better. False Divine (which features a guest appearance from Morbid Angels Steve Divine) couples blindly fast sections that has a touch of the Napalm Deaths about them, with some machine gun vocal delivery with a Corpse Grinder style sludge middle section and a nice dark synth driven conclusion. Arise Infernal Existence has a middle section that heads off into Pallas / Pendragon progressive rock territory; and Malignant Amour (which features another guest vox-box, this time opera diva Kate Alexander) is a tasty cut that sounds like Within Temptation resurrected for a staring role in a George Romero movie.

For me though the stand out track is the closer Gates Of Punishment, a true epic that has touch of the early Slayers and classic Amon Amarth about it and an orchestral section that tips the hat towards Imperial Vengeance.

Now this album is in no way a classic and doesn't stand up to recent releases from the likes of Fornost Arnor, Fortune Favours The Brave and the aforementioned Imperial Vengence. But it aint to bad either. In the blurb that came with my promo copy the band say that they are looking at each new album they release as "a huge climb in sound from now on.", and if they can put the whole 'Uno-gate' saga behind them and consontrate on developing their sound they could, given time turn into an outfit of real note.

In short - A good album from a young band on their way up

For Fans of..  Behemoth, Cradle of Filth, Not Above Evil, Berserker... etc

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