Martin Popoff is beyond any doubt the most productive book writer in the Hard Rock/Metal scene. The best proof of this is his unique capacity of producing two or three books per year. His carefully crafted, glossy-looking volumes usually combine compelling storytelling with first-rate visual material. Some of the most superb examples of this are “Run for Cover” (about iconic illustrator, Derek Riggs) “Fade to Black: Hard Rock Cover Art of the Vinyl Age” and more recently his collaboration with Malcolm Dome and a selected group of writers, in the art book “The Art Of Metal.”

One thing I really don’t like about extreme metal is what seems at times like the obsessive need for the more underground bands to be more “sick” and “brutal” than anyone else. Band names, album covers and song titles with disgusting imagery might be cool if you’re 15 or 16 years old, but when you’re 35 years old it comes across as little more than immature. As someone who generally appreciates the more raw and extreme sounds of the underground this is a bit disheartening, as a lot of times I will really like the sound of a band, yet be totally put off by disgusting imagery or lyrics. Don’t get me wrong, I love horror, but gore for gore’s sake is just plain stupid to me.

The name peaked my curiosity and I had to see what this band was all about. Unfortunately I feel the groups’ moniker is the only thing of real interest with this disc. Pandemic Transgression is a mix of black metal, ambient noise and a bit of experimental stuff and the result for me, is pretty much un-listenable; the album seemed to drone on for way too long and one time through was more than enough. There are brief moments where the disc begins to almost develop into a groove, but they don’t last long and are not memorable enough to write home about – a good example can be found midway through the tune “Glacial Ceremony.” Perhaps it’s just me, but I just don’t get what Funeral Fornication is attempting to do here.