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Funeral Diner - The Underdark (Cover Artwork)

Funeral Diner

Funeral Diner: The UnderdarkThe Underdark (2005)
Alone Records

Reviewer Rating: 5


Contributed by: AnchorsAnchors
(others by this writer | submit your own)

It seems that lately, when it pertains to music, movies, or random items, the word "epic" is thrown around all too often, often enough to barely have a meaning at all anymore. Mohammed Ali fighting Joe Frazier for the first time was epic, the battle scenes in the latter two movies of the 'Lord Of Th.
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It seems that lately, when it pertains to music, movies, or random items, the word "epic" is thrown around all too often, often enough to barely have a meaning at all anymore. Mohammed Ali fighting Joe Frazier for the first time was epic, the battle scenes in the latter two movies of the 'Lord Of The Rings' trilogy were epic, and the Buffalo Bills' 32 point comeback against the Houston Oilers in 1993 was nothing short of epic. The bagel and cream cheese you had for lunch was not epic, and neither was the battle against the half-pound Perch you caught fishing the other day. Epic is a term that needs to be reserved for those things that deserve it, and Funeral Diner's most recent effort The Underdark is certainly worthy of that billing.

Not since City Of Caterpillar have I been so impressed or captivated by anything a "screamo" band has put out. This is screamo as Indian Summer and Heroin intended, kids, so if you're looking for something to hold you over until the next Funeral For A Friend album comes out, you might as well stop reading this now.

Everything on this album oozes raw emotion. This album is everything screamo should be: frenzied, passionate, tense, and powerful. There are certain things that can't be manufactured using Pro Tools, things that no wizard behind the mixing board can artificially create, and that's the kind of emotion that you'll find in this record; it's refreshing to say the least. By most conventions, screamo is a fairly limited genre, with its high-pitched vocals contrasted by melodic guitars, using its emotion to drive the music. But Funeral Diner is far more dynamic than that. This is a band that won't be held to restrictions of "what they should sound like," and these eight songs rage just as much as they soothe. The instrumentation on some recent Funeral Diner outputs, most notably The Wicked, hasn't been a high point, but it reaches almost a level of mastery here, with the cohesion between band members really letting these songs take flight. That cohesion is realized by the overall flow of the album, which almost has to be listened to sequentially, and in a single sitting. The band gets into a deep groove, and through all of the ups and downs of the music, the instrumentation carries one song out as flawlessly as the next begins (think Buried Inside). The guitars aren't always pounding, but the delicate instrumentation suits the flow just as well, creating a relaxed atmosphere before you're quickly snapped out of it.

"Regardless We Fall" exhibits Funeral Diner's power and dynamics as well as any point on the album. The song starts out with some quiet, brooding instrumentation, until Seth Babb's cathartic screams kick in, and the song continues to move along, slowly increasing in power until seemingly reaching a peak at the three-minute mark, but you're only halfway there. The song builds back up, until finally unleashing all hell amongst a storm of pounding drums, driving guitar, and anguished screams. This is exactly the kind of thing I haven't heard since City Of Caterpillar put out their landmark self-titled record in 2002. Every song offers something different, while bringing the same level of talent and emotion to everything they approach. Each member of this band is just as in tune with their fellow band members as they are with themselves, and it shows.

The members have also included some elements not found on previous Funeral Diner albums, including some organ in "It's Good That We Never Met" that exudes an eerie, foreboding tone while the guitars continue to rise and fall in the backdrop of Babb's throat-shredding screams. The production here has lent a lot to Babb's vocals, allowing them to maintain the raw, emotional sound that's always been in place, but keep the raw sound of the rest of the band as well without having a test of who can be the loudest, it all just gels. Not only has the relationship between band members grown, but so has Babb's ability to write meaningful lyrics:

Colors shift, airwaves move and shape themselves into a perversion of what's right, how we were all fooled. And it continues to never add up. With options disappearing fast, the pacing voice and the burning hate-filled eyes make themselves out to be the only possible choice and truth. So long live the hate and long live the self-serving destructive 'ideals' that led us to this closed existence in the first place. Trust becomes an ugly word equated to weakness and a foolish path to better ourselves.
From every possible angle, Funeral Diner have improved beyond belief. The cohesion between band members and epic sense of songwriting has grown far past anything I expected from this band, allowing them to truly create a masterpiece of an album. The Underdark is the record that is passing on the screamo torch to Funeral Diner, that same torch held by Neil Perry, Joshua Fit For Battle, and City Of Caterpillar, and in many ways, this work surpasses anything those bands achieved in their short careers. This is dynamic, raw, emotional, passionate, cathartic, and everything intense music should be. Call it an overstatement, call it blasphemy, but folks, as of right now, this is album of the year.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Greeny341 (August 8, 2006)

This album to me never seemed complete, but since Regardless we Fall is on there it makes it my favourite FD album.

soulbleed (September 22, 2005)

i love funeral diner but this didn't satisfy me like their past releases. i'm sure it will one day, or at least i hope.

inagreendase (July 27, 2005)

Fun trivia: One of the dudes in this band is the founder of Fourfa.com.

Anonymous (July 27, 2005)

i hate myself is a 100 times better.

Anonymous (July 27, 2005)

thursday is a 100 times better.

CherryColaRain (July 26, 2005)

Sorry that should be BNO's "Trainwreck" because the album is far from a Trainwreck. It's fucking amazing.

CherryColaRain (July 26, 2005)

Been waiting for this one for some time along with BNO's Trainwreck and I have to say I am very pleased. Yet another great album by Funeral Diner.

Anonymous (July 26, 2005)

so 12" are lps? and these 45rpm thing whats the difference

fritobandito (July 26, 2005)

first off, this band is absolutely incredible. I haven't had a chance to pick up this album yet, but it is about #2 on my to-purchase list.

secondly...

can someone ples explain to me what the difference between a 7" a 12" an lp a 4" and all those other "s things and can they all be played by a record player or whats the deal... oh and yeah i heard this band rocks

a 7" is a record that is 7" in size. it's usually reserved for only a few songs, since it can't fit as many, so this is the usual format for an EP (extended play, an album with about 6 or less songs on it).

a 12" is a record that is, oddly enough, 12" in size! haha.

an LP is a full-length album, just a short name for it.

and yes, they can all be played on a record player, assuming your record player has a switch for RPMs so it can play both 45 and 33 rpms (7"s usually spin at 33, although I've been encountering more 45s recently).

and finally, yes, this band rocks an incredible amoount of ass.

hope that helps.

Anonymous (July 26, 2005)

k so i have a question thats is absolutely irrelevent... forgive me for being ignorant. and to u elitists who are going to bash me for this fuck u.... can someone ples explain to me what the difference between a 7" a 12" an lp a 4" and all those other "s things and can they all be played by a record player or whats the deal... oh and yeah i heard this band rocks

Anonymous (July 25, 2005)

hahaha

PMFS "slaying" Envy, Yaphet Kotto, Pg. 99, and Funeral Diner.

Best joke I've heard all year.

Anonymous (July 25, 2005)

"let's see if pitchfork gives that album a 10 you dumb shit.

oh wait, they won't even bother reviewing this crap actually."

What kind of douche comes on this board and tries to sound cool by repping pitchfork?

awkward (July 25, 2005)

this album is pretty fucking ace, screamo-legends (eww what a phrase) or not. prior to this i had only listened to "the wicked" ep which was kind of weak.. but this totally changed my mind about the band. yay.

tylerdurden8136 (July 24, 2005)

huh, real screamo kicks ass.

who knew?

Anonymous (July 23, 2005)

"you will want to stay far far away from Panthers. They're well rehearsed and skilled musicians but consist of disco shuffles and sassy attitudes."

they're two albums are very very different, and i'm assuming you're talking about their first. their second album sounds completely different, it's really heavy, balls-out rock and it's awesome.

Sally_Field (July 23, 2005)

Anchors listens to amazing music and writes amazing reviews.

Ohhh I'm such a dick sucker.

Anonymous (July 23, 2005)

I almost bought this album a few days ago. Thank God I didn't; Anchors likes it, so it must suck.

-Chinatown

Anonymous (July 23, 2005)

"let's see if pitchfork gives that album a 10 you dumb shit.

oh wait, they won't even bother reviewing this crap actually."

i havent heard this, so i dont know if its actually good or not...but pitchfork? come on man...just because they use big words doesnt make their reviews any more valid

Anchors (July 23, 2005)

Special Olympic jokes were really never funny. And don't accuse me of being all PC, because I'm about the furthest thing from it.

But they're honestly just not funny, and neither are you.

hobbitcore (July 23, 2005)

reading these comments is like watching track and field at the special olymics

Anonymous (July 23, 2005)

let's see if pitchfork gives that album a 10 you dumb shit.

oh wait, they won't even bother reviewing this crap actually.

Anonymous (July 22, 2005)

you should review theindian summer discography.....i say we start a discusion oin indian summer and heroin

Anchors (July 22, 2005)

The album I reviewed absolutely still stands well on it's own 6 years later. And besides that, they've released 'Syncopated Synthetic Laments For Love,' and 'We Bury Our Dead Alive,' since then, both spectacular albums.

And who are you saying copied their style, and did it better?
Very few bands of note play this style of screamo. City Of Caterpillar, Envy, Welcome To The Plague Year, (somewhat) Yaphet Kotto, A Day In Black And White, and Funeral Diner.

I wouldn't say any of those "copied" Yaphet Kotto, persay, Funeral Diner and COC started around the same time as Yaphet Kotto did anyway, but they have drawn influence from them.

Kenjamin (July 22, 2005)

i don't think yaphet kotto deserves that much praise. It hasn't aged well at all. Despite being released in 1999 i feel like it's been copied and done better many times over.

SilentStorms (July 22, 2005)

This definately deserves a 10. One of the best albums of the year for sure (if you LIKE this kind of music of course), and thank you for including Neil Perry in your mentionables, fucking great band.

P.S. I can't believe I didn't watch the second half of that bills game, i was sure it was over...damn.

Anchors (July 22, 2005)

I understand Sickboi's point about 5 star albums, and all of the ones he listed would get an undisputed five stars if I were to review them.

But I also agree with the other kid, that this isn't really comparable to Bad Religion or Minor Threat. A niche band like this could never have the broad appeal or influence of either of those, but at the same time, for the given genre, you'll find no better. (Save maybe Yaphet Kotto)

And on the subject of Gospel, I wrote a review for that album that should be up in a few weeks or so. I forgot what score I gave it, but it was definitely enjoyable.

sickboi (July 22, 2005)

I like being a dick.

Seriously, I'm not saying anything bad about this album, what I'm saying is that when you think of albums that are "5 star worthy", think of what you're comparing them to.

Russe11 (July 22, 2005)

Gospel owns from what I've heard. (pastepunk's review and a few mp3's)

Anonymous (July 22, 2005)

hey sickboi, quit being a dick. Anchors digs this cd and thinks it's worthy of a ten, let him think that. comparing funeral diner with bad religion is just plain stupid. i for one realize what a lasting effect bad religion has had on punk music and i respect them for that...but does that mean i feel they're a better band than funeral diner due to their influential nature? nope. to put my two cents in, this cd is pretty solid. it's alot more cohesive and flowing than alot of their previous works. but i'm still going to have to say that i like city of caterpillar much better than this band.

anchors, have you checked out that new band on level-plane called Gospel? a friend of mine sent me that cd the other day and i'm really enjoying it.

Russe11 (July 22, 2005)

Atreyu does suck. funeral diner doesn't. Just because your ignorant to real screamo music doesn't mean you can look down on people who like what you neither understand or know.

Anonymous (July 22, 2005)

The fact that someone actually knows this much about screamo and pursues the genre to find more shitty bands amazes me. How can people get into this shit... fuck screamo and metalcore. Atreyu sucks.

-Not-To-Regret

Anonymous (July 22, 2005)

i like this band, but there is no way this is better than envy last record

Anchors (July 22, 2005)

I really don't.

Most screamo contrass melodic guitars with shrill, shrieking vocals. PMFS doesn't really fit that category, nor does it fit the kind of category Funeral Diner fall in, mixing post-rock with screamo.

Anonymous (July 22, 2005)

This score is for the Faerun reference.

Curse you and your Forgotten Realms booklets!

sickboi (July 22, 2005)

Do you consider PMFS "screamo"? I do, and they slay all of those mentioned.

Anchors (July 22, 2005)

Sickboi, you're right, Funeral Diner cannot compare to Minor Threat or Bad Religion. There's no arguing that. But for this type of music, this very well may be the best album I have ever heard. Better than Envy, better than City Of Caterpillar, maybe even Yaphet Kotto (who previously had the best album from this genre.)

Oh and Russ, I attempted to check that band out, but it wouldn't let me stream the mp3 or the video. So if you still want me to check them out, send an IM to 'My Rival School' at some point.

stevejonestherealbones (July 22, 2005)

whoa....a 10... i looked at your past reviews and youve only given a 10 to yaphette kotto (who i went on to actually buy one of their albums and really enjoy) and mars volta (who i dont really like, but can see people in their right mind scoring high)...anyway, i think i will check this out

and yeah, if anything, maybe you disagree with anchors scores, but he definately isnt a reviewer that just always gives out high scores

- jones the bones

- stevejones8770@yahoo.com

- funeral diner is a bad name though

Anonymous (July 22, 2005)

Do or Die sucked.

Those are all punk ablums your talking about. This kinda stuff compairs to City of Catipillar and Circle Takes The Square.

Russe11 (July 22, 2005)

Hey Anchors have you heard of the U.K band called Oceansize? They play sort of a post-hardcore three guitar instrumental type rock with vocals (if that makes sense) They're really good. I would highly suggest checking them out. www.sizeofanocean.com

If you want the cd or more mp3's just ask. Anyways hope you like them.

Anonymous (July 22, 2005)

On their website they are touring with the band NERVOUS LIGHT OF SUNDAY in japan

hmmm. Very lame.

sickboi (July 22, 2005)

*you're

sickboi (July 22, 2005)

Sorry dude, but your wrong.

This album is solid, but no fucking way is it a 10. It doesn't compare to the likes of "London Calling", "Energy", "Do or Die", "Damaged", "Complete Discography", "Suffer", "Punk In Drublic", etc.

Not even fucking close.

Karasu (July 22, 2005)

Way to have an opinion.... jerk.

Love
-Karasu

Anchors (July 22, 2005)

"I can't believe someone who gives every review they've done 9 or 10"

I've written over 100 reviews (not all of which have been posted yet), and I've given out 3 10's, and probably 6 or 7 9's. And everything given that rating, deserves it.

theundergroundscene (July 22, 2005)

someone send this to me

aim: xxdxpxx

Anonymous (July 22, 2005)

I can't believe someone who gives every review they've done 9 or 10.

Anonymous (July 22, 2005)

That first paragraph made me want to check out this band. Congratulations on your writing skills, man.

Karasu (July 22, 2005)

I never was givin the proper label of Poison The Well. Besides they suck and everything, regardless what would they be labeled as?
some say screamo.
some say metalcore.

sickboi (July 22, 2005)

I'd say Fuck with Fire is definately "screamo".

And I really hate that term.

inagreendase (July 22, 2005)

Planes Mistaken for Stars

Isn't their first EP really the only thing that falls into that description, though?

Karasu (July 22, 2005)

I noticed "City of Catiplliar" ...so im buying this.

What happened to Jesse's reviews. I love you Jesse.

sickboi (July 22, 2005)

PS - In all of your ramblings about "epic" screamo bands, you forgot to mention the only "screamo" band that matters:

Planes Mistaken for Stars

sickboi (July 22, 2005)

I've heard this...

5 stars my ass....

Maybe 3. Its raw, but its fucking screamo, nothign groundbreaking here...

im-dead (July 22, 2005)

.must check this band out.

Anonymous (July 22, 2005)

funeral diiner fucking rocks!!!

xmidipunkbastardx (July 22, 2005)

great great band, but i haven't yet heard this record.

killyouridols (July 22, 2005)

amazing album.
i couldnt get much into their previous work, but i loved portraits of past.
but this is incredible, work of genius.

Anchors (July 22, 2005)

Yes, they are.

I always confuse them with Portrait, for obvious reasons.

jheisel (July 22, 2005)

This band is ex-Portraits of Past, right? I am psyched to check this disc out....

Russe11 (July 22, 2005)

damn really? I was really looking forward to checking them out. Thanks though.

Kenjamin (July 22, 2005)

you will want to stay far far away from Panthers. They're well rehearsed and skilled musicians but consist of disco shuffles and sassy attitudes.

Russe11 (July 22, 2005)

Also I was just wondering about Panthers (they're like 3/4's Orchid I believe). I dont own anything by them yet but they're on my list of things to order. Though that parental advisory sticker is bugging me...

Russe11 (July 22, 2005)

Thank you Anchors for reviewing real screamo. Now...how about that orchid review?

Anonymous (July 22, 2005)

D&D (Screamo Edition)

"Sweet! My new studded belt relic is 5 cookie monster vocal power!"

Jesse (July 22, 2005)

Uff da. Naming your new album after a place in the mystical Dungeons and Dragons Faerun campaign setting really limits your credibility in my book. What's the first track called, "Drow Slayer?"

I mean...D & D is for dorks...I have no idea what all that stuff is...

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