Funeral Diner The Underdark

Countless splits, seven-inches and EPs later, California emo veterans Funeral Diner have returned with a thoughtful full-length that goes a step beyond their previous efforts. Storm and stress songwriting consistently alludes to chaos, but is balanced by the serene progressions that build tension subtly and create a foreboding atmosphere. Their sound captures the essence of a number of bands dating back to the mid-’90s screamo explosion. The climactic emotional moments are created by choppy and desperate screams playing off discordant, pulsing notes layered under minor chords. During times of calm, the guitars melt together in plucked harmonies and slow strumming. The bass plays a curiously important role in creating melody and its strong, consistent presence is a high point of this record. The rare catchy rock riffs are where this band excels, but unfortunately they don’t develop this tendency into anything significant. The downfall of this is that the record proceeds through predictable phases, playing out like a standard sine wave, unable to overcome the cyclic nature of atmospheric records. (Alone)