“Scars of the Hatred” immediately has me on edge for the rest of the album, and no, not in a good way. Much like previous experiences with Krisiun albums, I’m not really liking the mix at all. This time around it’s the volume level of the drum kit, specifically the bass kicks. They sound okay, but are just way too loud, drowning out much of the guitar work with largely stagnant patterns, as if they were meant to be pushed further in the mix but, for some reason, wound up podded much higher somewhere along the line. The rest of the kit has enough variety at just a little lower an output, but, aside the crashes, they’re basically drowned out when these kicks are at a steady faster pace or fire off like rounds from a machine gun. There were so distracting that, honestly, I don’t even remember anything but them, the twanging bass guitar, and vocals.
At this point, I clearly was impressed with the new Bass Kicks and The Rest of Krisiun effort, so treading into “Ways of Barbarism” found me not the most willing to participate, but I do anyway. Again, I find my attention pulled to the drums and nothing else! They’re just so damn distracting with the volume level, and when the brief bass heavy passage hit around a minute and fifty seconds in, I was thankful for any sort of change in dynamics. Even just it’s presence against the the guitar solo was welcome. There’s a little more restraint in this one that permits the guitars to really register with the listener, creating a fairly eerie atmosphere. However, the song itself is over six-and-a-half minutes long, and by the time the second solo at the half way point kicked in, I honestly just didn’t care anymore. It all began to sound like a poorly levelled Obituary album, and I found myself wishing I were listening to that instead, especially when the blistering bass kicks came in just past four minutes and kicked up what sounded like some over-modulation in my speakers.
Next is “Dogma of Submission”, which starts off sounding like an absolute mess. The twang of the bass guitar in the rather complex patterns creates a technical death metal touch, but the metallic sound crossed with the loud bass kicks just make it almost impossible to get into until things slow down about a minute-and-a-half in when the procession towards a mid-tempo groove within a variety of slower riffs kicked in. This was the first time on the album up to this point I’ve actually gotten into the material, banging my head for the ninety seconds this segment roughly lasts. Even then the chaos returned, but felt like a far more suited explosion to follow-up on instead of just an abrupt one early on, not to mention it’s fairly brief, acting more like a bridge heading into the dismal guitar solo. It’s also at this point that it hit me that the guitars during said solos in each track are louder overall, which, coupled with cleaner neo-classical hooks, only further illustrates the point that the drums really are distracting and take away from the much lower sounding aspects terribly.
And yet there’s “Strength Forged Fury”, which finds the riffs much more noticeable compared to the previous songs. It might be due to the djent-like execution of the chords, having reminded me of a Meshuggah with more of a death metal touch in the main verses. It also doesn’t hurt that the bass kicks are held off a little more to further that approach, not to mention some militaristic marching from time to time, such as approaching the two minute mark, as well as the sirens that are emulated through the distortion on the guitar solo. If anything, this is a very progressive metal experiment for the group. Traces of Opeth and even Obscura can be heard throughout, such as around the three minute mark, as well as even some Voivod later on. It’s an interesting track that constantly whipped me in different directions, and, while I’m still not too keen on it right now, it comes off one that grows on you with repeat listens and becoming familiar with the general progression of the song from start to finish.
After two very promising tracks that really caught my attention, my enthusiasm towards Forged in Fury had been renewed, and I anxiously tore into “Soulless Impaler”. This one has a pretty dismal start that I immediately fell in love with, even when the vocals kicked in bordering on rap. It’s not, but I can see some people raging about it given the structure of the riffs and execution/speed the lyrics are hammered out with. Hell, I’d be lying if I wasnt picturing vocalist/bassist Alex Camargo throwing gang signs at times, especially towards the end. Other than that, this one lost my interest fairly early on. I didn’t feel that opening atmosphere really ever paid off. Instead it felt like a rough progression towards the hostility kicking back in, which, again, found the bass kicks playing tug-of-war with the many guitar solos that erupted up to, and just past, the half way mark. The rest of the track just came off more like a jumbled mess that tried to recapture that progressive glory “Dogma of Submission” held, but falling flat about half way there.
And, well, that’s where I decided to leave off. This new album isn’t exactly a let-down for me, as I’m rarely ever too impressed by Krisiun‘s studio endeavours (that I’ve heard) due to how they sound. Sadly, Forged in Fury is shaping up to be yet another. Honestly, if the bass kicks weren’t so damn loud I’d probably enjoy what I heard a hell of a lot more than I did. It has a subtle aggressive tone with an equally as dominant militaristic approach, morose atmospheres, and killer guitar solos; all, of which, are things I love when it comes to my death metal. It’s just how the drums and bass struggle to attract the most attention when the guitars are lower in volume, which is a damn shame. Yes, the louder level on the kit is something that’s always existed in Krisiun albums, but I can’t say always to this extent. Even Conquerors of Armageddon and Works of Carnage mixed the levels a lot better compared to this effort. Hopefully all this grows on me with future spins, but, for now, I can’t really suggest Forged in Fury, especially if this is your first experience with Krisiun.