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After initially hearing of this band being praised by many metal forums and magazines alike, I thought it would be fair to check them out to see what the hype was about. I managed to obtain this album at quite a fair price and stuck it on immediately. With a steady intro of 'Disappear Again', I was somewhat confused. This majorly-praised band was nothing special at all. There were no stand alone riffs, not particularly dangerous or cutting edge drum work, and Mitchell's retro vocals sound is so common in metal it's nothing to be desired. There's absolutely nothing here that's edgy or controversial. It's a very safe, primitive sound. They managed to throw a few seemingly out of place squeals in, which although I appreciate, doesn't enhance the lack of engaging guitar work. Yet that doesn't make them bad; they're tolerable, but just nothing really unique. Many bands (namely HammerFall) have received great fame from such a technique.
However, when the 'stand like stone' intro kicked in, I was a little more pleased. Their mediocre mainstream rock sound had suddenly developed to a more sophisticated groove metal-like sound. At this point I thought I'd underestimated the band and was starting to get my money's worth. There was a presence of a great riff comparable to the twangy speed of Lamb of God, delivered very professionally by Heath. The drums became more complex and Farmery was finally kicking in the double bass pedal, which gave the sound a much greater tempo and I was actually able to grasp a rhythmical beat I felt was pounding enough to start rocking my head to. Unfortunately, soon after this point the song turned back into a Black Stone Cherry anthem and I was once again uncomfortably confused. They were obviously very capable of such a sound and why they chose to ruin it with degenerate song structure and boring verse work escapes me. That pretty much goes for every song. There are parts where they give way for a more pounding assault, but would only last a short period per song before transforming back into the common rock song fresh from the stream. Songs often merge into each other and the frustration of the clear potential soon drives you mad. It's a very disappointing concept. Pat Heath delivered these riffs and solos with such precision, it's a shame his talent is snuffed and withdrawn so much during songs.
That being said, it's not a particularly bad album and I don't regret buying it, but I wouldn't recommend the band as heavily as the media did. That would leave expecting fans (like me) disappointed and frustrated. There are a few reasonably decent songs on the album and it does remain in my collection, but it's too safe and friendly to ever be put on and cranked up.
It may be a good idea to keep a watch on this band. However, I look to the next release with optimism and will give it a thorough listen and fair trial.
Furyon. More like Comeon.
Man, has this album been all over the internet lately! Every social networking, metal news, and PR site has been screaming out Furyon for the past two months, and I’ve finally taken the time to listen through the band’s highly touted debut Gravitas. Even with a few drams of salt, the hype was great enough that I figured there had to be something from this new “sensation” from the UK. Given the sources of press and the general vibe that it gave off, I felt like this was supposed to be a modern breed of melodic heavy metal/hard rock along the lines of the Allen/Lande project or Unisonic’s recent release. What I got was a good deal of confusion, and something else entirely.
What Gravitas feels like, put simply, is a very basic and vocal-centric pop/alt metal album (with even a few grunge influences thrown in) that tries very hard to pass itself off as more sophisticated and less commercialized than it actually is. This offends me a bit, but truth be told, there’s nothing really offensive about the band’s music. So I chalk the poor labeling and misguided marketing up to the PR reps and move on. One note here: this album was actually independently released by the band in 2010, and then discovered and re-released by Frontiers in 2012.
Furyon’s debut is very different from what I’m used to hearing from Frontiers (and indeed, the reason I was hopeful to begin with was because I realized it was a Frontiers release), and has a strange duality to it that weakens it considerably in my eyes. Vocalist Matt Mitchell is competent enough, but his appearance and rugged singing style remind me a bit too much of American hard rock/pop metal (like Nickelback and company) for me to remain completely comfortable. Instrumentally, this is completely unexceptional. Guitars, other than a bit of basic riffing, are largely rhythmic and punctuative, and any fan of heavy and power metal will be undersold on the solo work here.
When I say duality, I’m referring mainly to the two basic groups of songs. Basic hard rockers like opener “Disappear Again” and “Voodoo Me” are pretty straightforward, but then Furyon does a very curious thing: they include several longer tracks (three clock in at over seven and a half minutes) that are most unusual for this style of music. During these songs (“Souvenirs”, “Fear Alone”, and “Desert Suicide”), the group manages to accomplish absolutely nothing. These tunes aren’t nearly interesting enough to attract the attention of any well-groomed prog fan, and they’re nowhere near memorable enough to keep the attention of most of the more “basic” listeners that the band’s other tracks are bound to attract. They’re hardly bad, and everything is very professionally recorded, so I’m simply nonplussed by them.
This album is not for me, I don’t care for more mainstream metal, and Furyon aren’t bringing much to the table to attract anyone other than mainstream listeners. The lack of enthusiasm in their longer tracks also makes me dubious of any potential therein. Gravitas will find the occasional fan that enjoys this more basic sort of music, and might get a few pop metal listeners into something better, but there’s no lasting value for most of us.
Original review written for Black Wind Metal
Given the quality of their earlier EP, Underdog, I find myself somewhat disappointed by Furyon’s debut album. Gravitas is an album of two halves – short, sharp anthems, and longer, sprawling epics. And, in all honesty, they only really do one of those halves well.
In a technical sense, there are no problems here. All the band members are on fantastic form, and the sound as a whole is extremely polished for the debut record from a group of relative unknowns. In particular, the lead guitarist is amazing, punctuating most songs with some beautiful guitarwork and delightful solos. The singer, too, stands out from the pack, with a distinctive voice that adds an interesting edge to many of the songs. Once again, I need to mention the quality of the sound – everything sounds like it belongs, with nothing out of place. Rather than overpowering the other elements, each part of the whole works only to exemplify the others and bolster the songs as an entity. It is genuinely stunning for a debut.
This technical prowess does not help them with this album’s one major flaw, however. The longer songs (some are over eight minutes) feel fragmented – rather than flowing together, they seem jagged and broken. At times it seems like it might have been better to take parts of the longer songs and develop them into whole songs rather than keep the muddled mess they are now. Oftentimes it can be distracting or annoying – ‘Souvenirs’ has a few particularly jarring changes throughout – and at other times, the longer songs seem to drag despite these changes. On the occasions when it goes right, it sounds good – the six minute ‘New Way of Living’ maintains interest throughout, and manages to be memorable. It’s, overall, an unfortunate situation, because there is obviously skill here, and it has been tempered by a desire to push boundaries. It’s just that that same desire also acts against the album as a whole.
The shorter songs, however, maintain a fascinating, almost enchanting quality. The faster, more straightforward songs are the best of the album, with ‘Don’t Follow’ and ‘Disappear Again’ still being high points, and new songs like ‘Voodoo Me,’ ‘Stand Like Stone’ and the softer ‘Our Peace Someday’ hitting the perfect spot. The band’s strengths can most certainly be found in catchy riffs and catchy choruses – their shorter songs are infectious, catchy and, most of all, fun rock anthems. The album’s great, though held back by its own ambition – and yet, it’s obvious that, with a little polish, those epics can live up to the grandeur of their more primal siblings. There’s potential here, folks.