By: Matt Butler
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Released on August 7, 2015 via Century Media Records
Call me a big jessie if you like, but I like it that Krisiun have slowed down a little bit. Relatively speaking, of course. You’re not going to spend the best part of 25 years spewing the fastest, most blast-ridden, paint-stripping death metal this side of Hades then take a left turn to flute solos and acoustic ballads.
But in the Brazilian trio of brothers’ last release, The Great Execution, there was a semblance of melody, as well as a little groove to offset the pummeling default speed of the band. ‘Blood of Lions’ positively bounced. And that progression continues on Forged in Fury, the band’s 11th album, coming a full four years after Execution – the longest fans have had to wait for a release.
Yes there had been cries of derision with both albums, but I’m all for a little variety in my death.
If the last few paragraphs have left you clammy, fear not. Because if you’re after the intricate yet furious drumming, the bass which matches each double-kick, the crunching guitar and vitriolic vocals which Krisiun have been resolutely playing since 1990, there is more than enough to satisfy long-time fans here.
But what is good here that despite drummer Max Kolesne’s ‘old-timer-death-metaller’ complaints that metal bands are “even mixing up some emo crap and love-happy melodies with death metal elements”, this is not just another churned-out blast with total focus on keeping things true; there is enough variety here to take the genre incrementally forward.
Things begin malevolently rather than furiously with ‘Scars of the Hatred’, which is a mid-tempo number which plods a little too long, but ‘Ways of Barbarism’, which follows with Krisiun’s signature call-response blasts and growls at the beginning and brings in sections with solo guitar or bass for a bit of texture. The song breaks the six-minute barrier but maintains its anger (and the listener’s interest) throughout.
It has to be said that the production is awesome: it should be a template for how death metal should sound. Every instrument is audible, crisp yet crushing – the producer, Erik Rutan (also known as the frontman for Hate Eternal), hasn’t given in to the temptation to compress everything in pursuit of manufactured loudness. You can even make out the odd lyric – although around two minutes into ‘Soulless Impaler’, just before the song implodes into a rapid guitar solo, it sounds like Alex Carmago barks “bloodthirsty candyfloss”.
We’re glad of the crisp production when the likes of ‘Dogma of Submission’, ‘Strength Forged in Fury’ or ‘Burning of the Heretic’, bombard us with all three members playing at warp speed, old-school Krisiun style. Any less attention to detail on the mixing desk would have rendered all three songs muddy messes. As it is, they are colossuses of meanness, all containing some moments of jaw-dropping technique.
The final song proper (there is a short acoustic ditty at the end, which is unnecessary) is called ‘Timeless Starvation’ and, like many on here, is long for a death metal song, but has enough variety and bludgeoning anger to see all but the most impatient fan to the end.
And, luckily for jessies like me, it has a slow bit.