text: Oscar Wendt
Southern Poland. Upper Silesia. Snow, smog and coal mines. The ubiquitous bleakness and desolation. There are certain albums that require some profound imagination to place yourself in a different environment. Different to what you know. Some music involves devoting much more attention and thought than other. Furia, over the last decade, has managed to get us used to an incredibly erratic approach to the broadly defined black metal. That’s a fact. Being one of the most talented and productive musicians, Nihil is once again proving that he is not constrained to any musical limits. With both October and November certainly being under the sing of Furia, he prepared two creations – the literally underground Guido (EP) and, referring to the mighty Moon, Księżyc Milczy Luty. Both releases are under the wings of Pagan Records. Let’s have a short journey to the grim regions of Upper Silesia…
October 16th, 2016
Thinking of the underground scene, you wouldn’t expect it to be literal, would you? Well, think again… The latest Furia’s EP is what happens when a band decides to come over to the deepest visitor coal mine in Europe, take the lift down to level 320 and record an album there. Because why not… Guido is a historic coal mine in Zabrze and, being listed as a Polish cultural monument, it is certainly an interesting place to visit. But let’s concentrate on music here…
Guido is divided into two parts – the two-song Stara Polska Księżycowa and the second part, Ubrdy cz. 1 (part 1) which interestingly features three improvised tracks. The tale of Guido starts with a song which, on the surface, seems to be very Furia-like. It perfectly prepares you for the cold aura of Upper Silesia. The guitar parts are prodigiously captured within the overall structure of the track, which will easily get your attention straight away. The Furia’s famous poetic extensibility attacks you with an increased power and you better brace yourself – it’s only the beginning.
Both songs from Stara Polska Księżycowa part of Guido are a perfect indication of what Furia is all about. Cold, ominous but well-weighed sound complies really well with the general vision of how music created in a deep coal mine could sound like. The hypnotizing riffs put against the calming voice of Nihil build up a kind of apparatus to play with your senses, successfully confusing them. It may help if you speak Polish, but trust me – in case of Furia it may sometimes make things worse.
And here we go… The improvised part which I was fearing the most. I must be honest with you, I was not entirely sure about this idea but, as October was coming up to its third quarter, I was going to change my mind at once. The intro consists of the authentic sound from the old school coal mine lift in operation, presumably taking the band down to level 320 in Guido. First of all, if you have known Furia before, you need to discard all that knowledge and try to approach the second part of Guido with a fresh start. Because some things may shock you.
Hahary is the first song of the improvised trio and I have to admit – the way the tension is building up is simply incredible. From the atmospheric beginning putting you in the coal mine mood (I probably need to go out more!) to the very dynamic ending with the mesmerizing riff acting as a pathway to more Guido surprises. Łączka, on the other hand, offers a bit more balanced ambience that may not be new to Furia, but in this form, it has never been given to a listener before. The minimalistic melody of the bass guitar with Nihil’s spoken words is a clear indication that the band has been (as self-appointed) brought up underground.
In spite of all, you can still find some black metal elements but they have been craftily blended in the overall form of Guido which definitely works for me. The improvised part actually sounds very organized but, with its organic form, will definitely be an eye-opener to many people, not only those to whom Furia is a new discovery. It may be a short release but it’s considerably rich and filled with nuances that require some time to be properly absorbed.
The whole aura of the album made me seriously want to investigate the mine in Zabrze, as I never had a chance to visit that place. Guido, as a release, is a definite milestone in Furia’s discography, a one-off creation with its own rules and canons that only work within certain circumstances. And it is how this uncommonly interesting album should be perceived.
Księżyc Milczy Luty
November 14th, 2016
The new full-length Furia album is always something that excites me more than anything. My friends are tired of me because all I can talk about is Furia and I play the whole discography on repeat. In my mind, there were two possible ways this album could have turned out. Either they try to record another masterpiece like the 2014 Nocel (which is by the way my personal album of the decade and no, I’m not exaggerating!) or they go astray some completely other direction to experiment even further. Księżyc Milczy Luty is a journey to the Moon and back with the most insane and unpredictable soundtrack you can imagine. I’m glad the winter is coming…
Starting with a rhythm and atmosphere you better make friends with, Księżyc Milczy Luty begins with a song that is soon to reveal one of the most interesting riffs on the entire album. As soon as I’ve heard the heavy part of Za Ćmą, w Dym I knew that this album will mix things up. And oh dear… this Nihil’s deep voice in spoken parts can drive you insane, its piercing tone is an immaculate supplement to the general character of Furia. His harsh vocals which as always, bring Shining’s Niklas Kvarforth to my mind, sound incredibly strong and simply make Nihil a very diverse vocalist.
But seriously, there are some weird things happening on the album… Tam Jest Tu, for example, starts with the minimalistic and depressive form which slowly turns into the first proper blast on Księżyc Milczy Luty. The blast that sounds like a never-ending freight train loaded with coal passing in the neighbourhood. In the later parts of the album there are also some crazy bass action which can easily carve a trace on your brain.
The production of Księżyc Milczy Luty is also outstanding. It adds some deepness to how it is perceived and absorbed. All the bluesy parts work together with the heavy passages creating a marriage of completely two different worlds. The counterbalance has always been Furia’s trademark but in case of the latest longplay, it’s visibly emphasized.
What I also love about Księżyc Milczy Luty and about Furia in general is those organic structures of songs composed in such a way that you never know what’s lurking behind the corner. There is something that jolts you out of the routine practically every minute and it’s really difficult to predict what’s coming next. That pattern can be observed on Furia’s each release but it was the previous one, Nocel, which struck me hard with that observation. Księżyc Milczy Luty doubles that. Or triples.
The ending track, Zwykłe Czary Wieją, is I think the most approachable composition with the catchy riff and a little bit more convenient structure. The main theme can easily compete with my favourite Ogromna Noc from Nocel, which was also an ending track there. Anyway, this song has definitely made me feel the Upper Silesian atmosphere and helped me summarize Księżyc Milczy Luty in my mind.
‘Is it still black metal?‘, one could ask. To be honest I could not care less. Księżyc Milczy Luty is in fact a very difficult album which I can imagine will not fall into everyone’s liking, but to me, it is an incarnation of Furia’s unconstrained character. Yet with another album, the band is still making it impossible to be fully compared to anything else in the scene. So different to the preceding Nocel, this year’s full-length record is, just like Guido EP, the utter milestone. The milestone which I hope will open everyone’s eyes on this Silesian creation as it’s worth all the attention it can get. So let’s listen to Furia and let the world burn!