Batillus – Furnace

By Kyle Harcott

Furnace is, without a doubt, the heaviest record I have heard this year. That’s the first, foremost, and most important thing you need to know here. It may also be the best.

The songs are apocalyptic, steeped in the kind of thick-blooded ugliness that will have any halfway-self-respecting doomhauler racing to find this slab on the heaviest piece of soul-blackening/none-more black vinyl they can find. Words like gargantuan aren’t BIG enough to describe the sounds barely contained on this recording. These are riffs huge enough to invert Big Bangs. These are planet-smashing drums, enforcing a sense of claustrophobia. This is bass devoid of hope and filled with stomach-clutching nausea. Furnace is a sonic black hole, snorting up entire galaxies in its wake, too large and all-negating to even properly be comprehended. You must listen and pay close heed, lest the dark gods contained within unleash their wrath upon thee.

For example, when the band machetes its way through to the “Fall on your knees!” chorus in ‘Deadweight’, it’s doesn’t just sound like some lyrics – it’s a fucking commandment. Coupled with that glorious, world-falling-down descending riff, the song’s blunt-force-trauma factor is only matched by its fingers-around-throat conviction. Punishingly good. Frighteningly heavy.

Need more proof? ‘…And the World is as Night to Them’ starts out shambling around like some slow-moving god drunk on stardust and vomiting up dying universes, then progresses into a mid-paced night hunt, sounding like it’s about to pounce on some unsuspecting pitch-black prey, finally collapsing upon itself in a burst of crackling static and noise.

‘Uncreator’ is a short, rude burst of punishing sturm-und-drang blast, a momentary spot of relief from the rest of the album’s apocalypse-length tracks. No less severe, though, this song just attacks with speed and brutality, rather than in suffocating slow-motion.

The intro to ‘The Division’ is leg-hobblingly slow, drowning in feedback and gut-churning noise loops, its desolate pace only matched by its caged ferocity. When the song kicks in proper, it carries with it a heft of snaggle-toothed menace, leering and careening like some enraged simian that’s just figured out how to use that discarded carrion femur in as a bludgeon. The song is as predatory as it is minatory. Absolutely nothing good can come of this.

‘What Heart’ and ‘Mautaam’ are no less convicted, no less ugly and marauding, no less earth-shattering in their execution. If by this point in the album you aren’t entirely won over to the cause, aren’t actively campaigning for the end of all light, aren’t embracing fully the coppery taste of black-hole annihilation and the eradication of hope, then what hope is there for you?

When the world eventually ends, it will probably sound something akin to Furnace. Amen.

(Seventh Rule)

Sean Palmerston

Sean is the founder/publisher of Hellbound.ca; he has also written about metal for Exclaim!, Metal Maniacs, Roadburn, Unrestrained! and Vice.