Furykane are a band who are full of surprises. Veering wildly between metal’s multifaceted elements, at one moment they may indulge in some ethereal, Deftone’s esque guitar work, the next minute they’ll be plunging into a seething cauldron of Meshuggah-esque dynamic aggression, never staying still for long enough for the listener to become too familiar with their sonic surroundings. In Jen, the band have a remarkable singer, capable of haunting, sensual melodies and terrifying, scarifying screams, often in the same breath, and it is her performance that particularly marks the band out as something refreshingly different from the norm. With a back catalogue that includes two EPs and a debut album (2011’s ‘fake’), Furykane have plenty of experience behind them and this self-titled second effort looks set to take the band to the next level.
Opening track ‘feast’ sets out the band’s unconventional tendencies with a syncopated beat, twisted guitar riffs (courtesy of lone guitar player Max) and Jen delivering a vocal performance that’s part Chino Moreno, part Courtney Love, part Tarrie B. Confrontational and energetic, her performance is matched by the furious energy levels of a band clearly raised on everything from nu-metal to industrial, and with its huge chorus you can easily imagine Furykane capturing the imagination of rock-club denizens everywhere. With a title containing a truly awful pun, ‘porn to be wild’ mixes up poppy elements with grinding guitars and electronic flourishes that make the band sound like a furious cross between Lady Gaga, Guana Apes and Limp Bizkit. It shouldn’t work, but such is the band’s performance, not to mention the subtle musical elements that raise Furykane far above the aforementioned acts, that it does with a cheeky grin and a knowing nod to the mosh pit. ‘Chemical load’ is one of the album’s heaviest moments with its crushing groove metal riffs only for the chorus to stagger drunkenly into Veruca Salt territory with its raw-throated cries and suspiciously memorable melodies. Once again uncovering nu-metal influences, ‘in flames’ is a rhythmic barrage of taut guitars and throbbing bass all aimed straight at an earth shattering chorus that seeps into the listener’s brain without so much as a by-your-leave, a trick repeated on the semi-rapped ‘point of view’ which swerves between furious guitar white-outs and sweetly crooned vocals that drift across the mix like smoke across a battlefield.
With the album progressing at rapid pace, ‘lullaby’ sees the band indulging in their one and only Evanescence moment, with Jen’s vocals closer to Amy Lee than at any other point on the record. Things take a turn for the heavier with the driving guitars of ‘dive’, which pits guttural screams against sweet pop vocals in a head-to-head battle and then ‘pop-up’ introduces a sweetly funky side for a verse that is as much faith no more as the chorus slips into anthemic Within Temptation territory. It is a beguiling mix that the band manage to pull off with some degree of success, genre-hopping with ease without ever allowing the music to lose its fundamental edge. The furious ‘psycho’ does justice to its title, offering up multi-tracked vocals, awkwardly paced guitar stabs and one of Jen’s most ferocious vocal performances. The album is closed out with the grinding ‘hard cookie’, a lithe, writhing nu-metal workout that would not sound out of place on a Limp bizkit album.
Furykane are a strange beast. If they had appeared on the scene in 1999 they would undoubtedly have conquered the world, whereas in 2014 they seem strangely out of time, harking back to the music of a decade fast fading into distant memory. That said, Furykane’s existence outside of the dictates of fashion is in the best traditions of metal’s rebellious nature, and the band’s skilful blending of numerous different styles from the turn of the century results in this self-titled effort being a hugely enjoyable and memorable effort. Those who despise nu-metal had best steer clear, but for those who relished the huge melodic choruses and massive riffs will certainly find plenty to enjoy on this second outing from the band and Jen’s performance, in particular, gives Furykane a versatility that so many straight-forward nu-metal bands lacked. It’s not a perfect release, there is a tendency to rely on the tried and tested heavy verse – melodic chorus structure which would wear thin if the album wasn’t sensibly kept brief; and it’s certainly not a record for those who found nu-metal to be a wholly irrelevant foot-note in the history of metal, but for those with an open mind, Furykane are a refreshingly different, musically interesting act well worth checking out.
Find out more at www.furykane.net