Label: Pagan Records
Sometimes, you need to give an album time. First impressions are’t always the most accurate, and how you feel about an album in a week or a month may differ vastly from how you feel about it right now. What is exciting on first listen can feel dull by the tenth; and vice versa. Some albums only reveal their full strength with time and patience. Ksiezyc Milczy Luty by Polish band Furia is one such record. For sure, initial listens had me assessing the album as being good, but with time, it’s revealed itself to be something much stronger and impressive. This is the kind of black metal that pushes at the borders of the genre whilst simultaneously staying true to its dark heart, conjuring up a special kind of evil.
That the band’s name translates in to “fury” is appropriate, for there is certainly a burning passion at their core; but as anyone familiar with the band will attest to, there is more to Furia than simple rage and hate. The darkness that cloaks their sound is that of the night, of the moon and stars as seen through otherworldly eyes. They have been described elsewhere as ‘Nekrofolk’, but there’s also a strong gothic post-punk to their sound, as evidenced by the strong, often melodic bass lines, and shimmering guitars on songs like “Grzej” which are all the more powerful for the way they don’t simply rely on brute force. There is an ambition and inventiveness here that makes most other black metal bands seem tame and generic.
All of this is done without losing sight of just what black metal is – of the burning, pagan heart at the genre’s core. Even as they make use of outside elements, that blasphemy and sense of otherness that so defines the best black metal comes through clearly, which is all the more impressive considering how frequently Furia veer away from the typical black metal sound. When combined with Nihil’s dramatic, authoritative vocals and sense of poetry – which comes through even if you don’t understand the Polish lyrics – it all adds up to something special, making Ksiezyc Milczy Luty feel like the kind of album that challenges the concept of just what black metal can achieve. There’s an argument to be made that, sonically, the band may have moved beyond black metal, but it’s not one I would agree with – they’re just twisting it in ways that few others would have the intelligence or courage to do.
As alluded to in the introduction to the review though, this may not be apparent on initial listens. It takes a few spins to reveal some of its more subtle details, and the inventive songwriting may take some time to fully appreciate. Such efforts are well rewarded though, as this is an excellent record, that is not afraid to take black metal in under-explored directions to great effect. Embrace the darkness, and allow Furia to take you away in to the night.