Notes from two dissatisfied listeners:
Just received the promo some days ago and this is it, really: the joke of the year. “Eerie Glockenspiel on very groove-doomy riffs” – seldom read & heard such nonsense. Eerie??? Has the Reaper ever heard of Morte Macabre, Jacula, Devil Doll?
This is obviously – well, in the regard to the quality not too obviously – a tribute to Black Sabbath, and the record company pronounces that only instruments from the 40ies to 70ies have been used. Yet the production is just bad and far from any good 60ies / 70ies production, missing any power. From a lot of crappy records I got lately, this one is extraordinarily bad. In fact this is a definition of worst metal boredom.
…Realizing this band has already a back catalogue, the new effort seems even worse…
…the music… it’s so helpless…
Oh, I managed to listen to a few seconds of the new FURZE. This is why god has invented the skip-button, I guess. Can’t believe the other album was actually released by Candlelight…? Shocked I mean, LoFi and so on, yeah, but THIS… ouch.
Another entry-point: In old Swedish folklore, gathered from commoners by ethnologists in the 1930’s, there are many reports of late-night encounters with various ghouls, ghosts and other spectral emissaries of the beyond. One of the more rare of these nocturnal visions describes a shrill scream or laughter, emanating from a femur-sized bone hovering a few feet in the air or jumping up and down from the ground. Sometimes marrow or some other fluid was frothing from the edges of the bone, and sometimes it was wrapped in some old cloth or dried skin flapping in the wind. Reports of this kind were mostly common in coastal regions, the haunter being a sailor who drowned and never received a proper burial, but also frequent in forest regions.
Where most Black Metal bands harnessing the mystical forces of folklore do so in the shape of powerful entities like werewolves, elementals and the Devil himself, FURZE has always taken a slightly more narrow and uncomfortable dirt road to illuminate the mysteries of his (=Woe J. Reaper’s) mind. If the flapping, frothing and shrieking bone would whistle a tune, it would probably not be too dissimilar from the Reaper vibrations currently inhabiting my ears.
“Narrow and uncomfortable” could easily be applied to many facets of FURZE. This new album, Reaper Subconscious Guide, retains the thin and (for some) effete and meagre sound qualities of earlier efforts. Compared to for example Necromanzee Cogent, which also focused more on the slow doomy sections, it is much clearer, much less distorted; the result of harking back to and channelling the spirit (as perceived by Reaper) of old psychedelic and heavy rock (especially Black Sabbath ’70-75), rather than early harsh Black Metal. The Subconscious Guide is in all respects a lot more controlled and focused than all previous FURZE releases, especially the frenzied UTD from 2008, which has its pros and cons. Some technical glitches shine through – plucking guitars missed, the clatter of colliding drum sticks in practically every fill – not very tight either, out-of-tune melodies, et c – which might annoy several listeners. But if you appreciate FURZE, you have to appreciate technical fallibility – in the end, that’s not what it’s about. Go listen to ENSLAVED or something if you want production over contents. With FURZE – and all occult rock music – it’s about the RIFF. Always has been, always will be. And what FURZE emanates, is otherworldly. It’s not about effects, excelling in weirdness or darkness. FURZE is pure inspiration.
Doom and psych rock is mentioned several times in the promo sheet (no doubt authored by Reaper himself), and yes, the whole album is slow. No grind whatsoever; only once or twice does the tempo reach HELLHAMMER velocities. No, this is a Doom Metal album; plodding and murky, pacing moodily about in a cemetery by moonlight, bass-lines taking strolls down rarely lit paths in the forest, the vocals twangy and nasal like a spectral Bobby Liebling dug up ten years after dying. The word “eerie” reappears constantly when trying to describe FURZE, and if Reaper Subconscious Guide is anything, it is eerie. Cosy and disturbing at the same time; not oppressive or horrific, but homey and… well, cosy. But uncomfortable at the same time, like being invited to take tea in the living room of a restless ghoul. FURZE stands, in terms of music, alone, not at the top but somewhere else, far away from, well, mortals.
Reaper Subconscious Guide is, like all FURZE albums, something out of the ordinary – regardless whether you find it obnoxiously bad or necromantically outstanding. Always striding down his own narrow paths overgrown by gorse and henbane, the Reaper never tries to satisfy, or impress for that matter. Nothing to prove. Pure inspiration. I would love to read the lyrics though, as they tend to add several dimensions to his works. But with tracks like “It Leads…”, reminding of nothing but early LIK, ISENGARD’s “Storm Of Evil” and BURZUM’s “Lost Wisdom”, and “The Bone Drum” which just might be FURZE’s best song so far, this album is not a contender to but a usurper of the throne of 2010.
And yes, the glockenspiel is eerie, in a very groovy way.
1. Earlier Than The Third Might Of The Cosmos
2. It Leads…
3. Immortal Lecture
4. The Bonedrum
5. Essential Wait