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An introductory look at Norway's Furze - 75%

Byrgan, May 21st, 2006

Furze, the strange one-man-band from Norway, is playing a raw, repetitive and primitive form of black metal with "Trident Autocrat." For general reference, this is along the lines of Darkthrone's "A Blaze in the Northern Sky," with similar hints, points and nods to pioneers Bathory and Celtic Frost as well. I'm sure they have similar inspirations and this isn't going to be an exact match with its own peculiar personality having the capability of coming out.

The production isn't so deep it is mudded, yet it isn't so hissy that it is unlistenable. It comes to a middle ground of sounds that are rough around the edges and full of cavernous presence. The guitars are higher toned to get full attention of the often higher placed structures, the bass guitar surprisingly backs it up, the snare somewhat varies from sharper to a little flatter and the vocals are right there to hit you from all angles with its drowning-in-effects delivery.

The song writing is guitar centric, which keeps it simple by mostly paving the way with alternating tremolo techniques; he also uses a fair amount of single notes and extended hammer-ons in either speed he decides to poison your ears with. This isn't littered with varied strums or abstract chords that give off some atypical noise, actually some of the lines can be infused with melody and also have a certain catchiness factor. I think the intention was to make as many guitar lines as possible stick with its listeners; something like an ugliness followed by a you-can't-look-away inclination for its listeners to return to.

The momentum is often in full charge, though this has some beats that are in mid-range and also tread down to being as slow as a snail. It's not that common for a one man band to be able to play faster sections consistently on the drums. Take early Judas Iscariot, for instance, where the pacing unintentionally varies because he is more talented or just plain concentrated with guitar and vocals. However, even though he isn't a through-and-through, chop-maestro in this area, he manages to maintain a steady, though basic, beat; even when the snare isn't always giving off a sharp sound, sometimes just being flatter, like a doormat slapped against a wall. The vocals have a few different placements to treat your ears with: ranging from raspy, screamed, wailed and then a few oddities in between, such as giving off these eerie cleaner chime-ins. The effects placed on top can make the sound stretch to give a certain line more amplification and peaking emotion, and also a few other areas have layered back-ups, that way you don't know which angle they're going to get you from.

"Trident Autocrat" can go from playing a by-then orthodox form of black metal in the year 2000 that's reminiscent of certain earlier Norwegian bands to being a character all its own. If you happened to have heard the later output "Necromanzee Cogent," which is much slower and a weird one at that, then it can literally make this release look conventional in comparison. Since it appears Woe J. Reaper has been in the black metal game for a little while with demos under his belt, he's already gone through some trial and error, so when the experimentation happens here, it mostly works. The last track is something Pentagram would have been proud of, where the speed begins sluggishly with vocals that use this decrepit and elderly sounding voice. There's also a middling section in that same song where the drums and vocals disappear and a watery guitar effect plucks a few spacy notes back and forth. This has some surprises but, then again, I wish this had more of them littered about as some parts do seem straightforward. Like they have a tendency to go for a sustaining repetition compared to other areas that take you on with a mood-centered mode of playing that instead comes out of left field. Though on the next output, Mr. Reaper puts some of that to rest and found a style that he could call "home," off in some other galaxy where, of course, the sun still doesn't carry its glaring light.