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Herzog – Furnace

herzog – furnace


Once again the Belgian Black Metal scene and the German label Amor Fati Productions cooperate to bring us a new slice of darkness. And not for the first time, musical whirlwind Déhà can be found in the ranks involved. In the case of Herzog he doesn’t fulfil the role as drummer but instead that honor goes to Hochofen, and together with founding member Asgeir Amort the trio is complete. Brewing for years, the debut album ‘Furnace’ finally materialized, and presenting it as a unique form of Black Metal, or so bio describes, certainly manages to raise the initial expectations.

I’ll give the bio that much that the music of Herzog certainly is hard to pin in a specific corner of the Black Metal spectrum. That in part has to do with a rather shapeshifting identity of the music between songs. Take for instance the ‘Acheminement’. Here, the band opts for a gritty and slow sound, draped in melancholy, with vocals that are closest to those of Archgoat. Not quite at Depressive Black Metal levels of darkness, the band opens in a mesmerizing manner which even contains hints of Death Metal acts such as Necros Christos. It certainly opens the album in quite a captivating manner. The subsequent ‘Melted Tesseract’ then completely turns things around, not only with the much-increased pace and more classic Norwegian appearance, but also with more maniacal high-pitched vocals. ‘Oath of Weakness’ then takes a bit of the repetitive nature of ‘Acheminement’ and mixes it with a bit of Deicide in terms of atmosphere. Up to this point, it certainly becomes unpredictable what comes next, but ‘The Craftsmen’ and ‘All Rites’ offer a little bit more familiarity. Again opting for the slower and entrancing route in uncomfortable haunting riffs, these songs match the wonderful ‘Achinement’ much more than the predecessors. With ‘Oath of I’ we reach a more melancholic strumming track, emphasizing atmosphere. In this, the more deranged shrieks work the best, although I personally prefer the lower regiment vocals of for instance ‘All Rites’.

To me, ‘Furnace’ is an album with two faces. On one hand, song like ‘Achinement’, ‘The Craftsmen’ and ‘All Rites’ really strike a unique Black Metal sound, slow, melancholic and brooding. But unfortunately the other tracks kind of miss that mark. While unhinged can be a good thing when talking about the vocals, I would not say it does the cohesion of the album much good when talking about the stark contrast between songs and vocal styles. A solid album, but as a whole I can’t help but feel it doesn’t quite live up to the potential contained within some of these tracks.


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