Primitive, impassioned and dedicated to “the memory of the ‘70-’75 era of BLACK SABBATH” Furze carry the torch for genuine, heart-felt, dark heavy metal in much the same way as Darkthrone are keepers of the flame for true, underground black metal. The result is a five track, forty-odd minute exercise in exhuming the spirit of Ozzy and Co. In their heyday and infusing it with the vitality of a band utterly dedicated to their cause.
Split, vinyl style, into pages 1 and 2, Furze open their latest opus ‘Reaper subconscious guide’ with the preposterously titled ‘Earlier than the third might of the cosmos’ which transpires to be a gloriously riff-laden track with vocals which sound like a cross between Vincent Price and Reverend Bizarre’s Albert Witchfinder. Despite a slightly tinny sound (which actually suits the music perfectly) there’s a real power to the music and this is arguably the closest any band has ever come to accurately representing the spirit of those first two Black Sabbath albums whilst still maintaining an original sound. A lengthy, impressive opening, it is surrounded by an aura of impenetrable darkness and the unusual ending hints at a fascination with the soundtracks to seventies horror movies and a love of flanger guitar effects. While the first track is a master-class in drawn out atmospherics, ‘it leads…’ sees Furze utilising the same proto-punk dynamics that Sabbath employed on tracks like ‘children of the grave’ albeit with a bit of Darkthrone-esque blackness thrown in for good measure. ‘Immortal lecture’ is more in the ‘Black Sabbath’ (the song) vein, all sustained notes and unusual percussion at a sludgy tempo that lends the song an almost over-bearing weightiness that belies the thin production while clever stereo separation sees the guitars split across the speakers so that various elements can go unnoticed upon initial listens.
Page 2 kicks off on a more psychedelic bent, all atmosphere and shimmering guitar which makes good use of light and shade and skeletal drum part in the opening sections to really build tension. Unnerving and magical it’s the sort of music that really sets the teeth on edge thanks to a vocal performance that is just the right side of terrifying. Vaguely progressive in feel, this is how Pink Floyd’s echoes might sound in hell if played by Sabbath and members of Emperor. Final track ‘Essential wait’ takes 10 seconds to even appear but when it does it’s a swirling, hypnotic piece that closes the album out amidst black candles and the whiff of joss-sticks. With jazzy bass runs and terrifying sound effects it is the most atmospheric of the tracks on the record and it has a slight stoner/doom vibe thanks to the clean guitar passage although the mood is shattered when the unearthly screams penetrate the fog.
One cannot doubt Furze’s commitment or ability. A throw back to the wonderful, organic records of the seventies when samples were unimaginable and band’s relied upon imagination and creativity to get the sound they wanted, this is a fantastic record that will comfortably grace the shelves of heavy metal, doom and black metal fans alike. Utterly unfettered by fashion or the need to deliver singles, Furze are a pure, elemental force in heavy rock that need to be heard.
Released in November through Agonia Records