Furyon – Gravitas Review

Furyon // Gravitas
Rating: 3.0/5.0 — Smoke break-worthy
Label: Frontiers
Websites: furyon.net | myspace
Release Dates: Out Now Worldwide

Not sure if any of you guys follow the Japanese anime/manga series known as Bleach, but the album artwork reminds me of the series’ protagonist’s Hollow mask. In any case, Furyon sounds rather huggable and bad for asthma-prone people, but this rising UK band have concocted a decent debut full-length album here, which will make those asthma-prone people catch their fleeting breaths. Call it heavy metal or hard rock, as usual the line is blurred, but what is clear is how much more melodic the band’s take on either one of the traditional genres is. Imagine Bruce Dickinson-style vocals, a thicker musical texture than Iron Maiden, and a hint of Iron Maiden’s newfound progressive influences on 2010’s The Final Frontier; and your mental ears have pretty much nailed it. Oh, throw in the fact that the record’s mixed and mastered at a volume much gratifyingly louder than Iron Maiden too.

While some of the tracks are lengthy, they actually avoid sounding monotonous and being just white noise. “Souvenirs”, “New Way of Living”, “Fear Alone”, “Wasted On You”, “Desert Suicide” all clock in at 8:04, 6:22, 7:40, 5:50, and 8:15 respectively—all of which are way past the average song length of roughly three plus minutes. But take “New Way of Living” for example, it starts off with vocalist Matt Mitchell singing solo, before the usual heavy metal/hard rock paraphernalia flashily enter with pomp (especially that reverberating bass!), before leading into a tight passage consisting of a heart-tingling guitar solo backed by catchy riffs from the secondary guitars. This goes on until about a minute of the song is left, and by then, a recapitulation of how the song began (solo vocals >> all instruments enter) finishes off sensibly and symmetrically. Creative, musically pleasing, yet organized!

Most Iron Maiden worship bands simply copy their idols’ previously favored A B A (basically, this is the standard Classical single-movement structure of the Sonata form) song structure. Furyon, however, actually embellish it with powerful bass backings during the typical riff passages and eyeballs-glued-to-the-fretboard moments of virtuosic shredding during the typically highly-predictable climax of a traditional heavy metal/hard rock song.

As the saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” [Actually, I think it’s “If it ain’t baroque…” AMG] Perhaps I should add on to it a little: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it too much.” That’s right, popular sayings that resonate with 99% of the masses aren’t 100% correct allthe time (and did I mention that 87% of statistics are usually made up 100% of the time?). One thing though, people with short attention spans might not be able to sit through all 1 hour and 4 minutes of this melodic epic. Catchy or not, most people will probably get butthurt before they hear the last note of the last song.

Old blokes who dug and still dig Iron Maiden will find both nostalgia and freshness in this record, while young kids and adults who might not have explored the older sub-genres of metal music will find this a good substitute for Iron Maiden. This is Iron Maiden updated for the modern crowd. This is… the NWoUBHM/HR (New Wave of Updated British Heavy Metal/Hard Rock).

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