Monday, January 2, 2017

Furia - Księżyc Milczy Luty

Black Metal can take many forms. Furia are a veteran outfit who, with Księżyc Milczy Luty, if not already landing fatal blows are within striking distance of that elusive perfection which so many strive to grasp. What makes Księżyc Milczy Luty such an endearing and impacting listen is how each element bonds with the other elements to form a totality while simultaneously maintaining individual importance and identity. Far from being a muddy atmospheric mess, Furia create atmosphere in the way a classical composer would approach atmosphere - with melody, percussion, and clear dynamics. If there was a top black metal album for me in 2016, Księżyc Milczy Luty stands on that summit and the rest are still at a base camp far below.

The LP version of the album has a different cover compared to the CD.
The approach taken on Księżyc Milczy Luty is refreshing. Space is given for the listener to find an angle into the material and each listen can be approached from a new trajectory**. There are as many gentle gifts to lure the listener into Furia's world as there are massive black metal explorations to stir up fury - the english translation of the band's name. It is apparent from the first two songs this is not going to be a normal predictable listen. The first salvo of "Za ćmą, w dym " and "Ciało" start as a building bass-heavy plod, an inverted pointer finger motioning to come closer, hinting at secrets and rewards. Often songs have this opening technique, much the same way as Iron Maiden has used clean guitars and introductions on recent albums to set the melodic mood. Furia have a knack for this and twist it mischievously. "Zabieraj Lapska" and "Tam Jest Tu" also incorporate this method. Each of these four tracks is wholy unique and enticing.

The other two songs, "Grzej" and album closer "Zwykłe Czary Wieją" are the album's more immediately impactful tracks. "Zwykłe Czary Wieją" has a more blackened doom vibe throughout, making use of Nihil's incredible barking vocal style. It's an uncommon ornamentation that makes Księżyc Milczy Luty more involved and dynamic than the endless screams and shouts normally hanging all over ninety-percent of the other black metal albums out there. "Grzej" is the album highlight for me. It has everything that one would want in a black metal track. The memorability factor is astronomical. Opening with a viciously alien bass line over atmospheric guitars, the song ebbs and flows between the bass line like wind whipping through trees on a mountainside. The song slows and builds dynamically throughout, particularly midway through as tremolo guitars take prominence leading into drawn out harsh clean guitar chords and feedback. Drummer Namtar's snare work in the song is excellent and driving. The song effectively "ends" but continues in silence, periodically accents of melody pierce. The song is truly mammoth.

With so much going on in each song, it would have been very easy for Furia to over-reach, for the album to seem disjointed. Instead it's as if they held back in spots and culled ideas specifically to make sections seem more minimalist and raw. The whole central section of "Tam Jest Tu" for example would have been a perfect place for a lesser band to simply fill it with ideas and shit but instead Furia left it practically completely empty. The silent sections of "Grzej" is another example. Few bands, especially in a genre that prides itself on being noisy and harsh, have the skill to utilize these voids in a way in which they become part of the atmosphere and songs themselves. Amidst all the awesome riffs and ideas and music, the incorporation of these lulls comes across in a manner that one could easily say Furia were truly inspired in the creation of this album. It's because of this totality of songwriting that Księżyc Milczy Luty is truly impressive, even to seasoned listeners. Furia have presented an old gilded chest full of remarkable treasures; each object unique and finely crafted, the heirlooms telling stories and stirring emotions.

** Orion's Note: Sars' bass playing on this album is absolutely incredible. I've listened to this four or five times in it's entirety just listening to the bass lines.

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