In 2007, the group Furor Gallico came into existence from Monza and Milan, Italy. The Folk metal group, which covers the lyrical content of Celtic mythology and history. Like most bands of the style, the group really takes the Folk instruments into consideration here, and while the material doesn’t really stand out, Furor Gallico does allow the listener to see why it is Massacre Records picked up this release to reissue roughly one year after the band released it themselves. But, does this album that clocks in a little under an hour show a band that is full of potential, or is Furor Gallico just another band, albeit a strong one, in the long line of Folk Metal acts?
While the Folk Metal trend has seen a lot of bands become well known and beloved entities through more upbeat material with a heavy folk lyrical structure, such as the booze-soaked Korpiklaani and the Humpa inspired Finntroll, there still is a heavy foundation of more serious acts that don’t really feed into the fun-loving mold that has many Metal fans crying foul. Furor Gallico present a much more Folk oriented style through the musical instruments instead of lyrics and an upbeat sound. The somber material the band often plays, coupled with more traditional Folk instruments, really set up a natural vibe to the album that give off sort of a gypsy-esque or even sometimes a medievil sort of atmosphere to the music. All of those additional instruments come through nicely, though still clearly aimed at being more in the background. The drumming here sounds about the same as far as volume levels go, though the cymbols are a little louder in comparison with some solid sounding snares against a some nicely paced thudding bass kicks that are varied in tempo, going from slower paced and rhythmic to more third generation-oriented Black Metal blast beast, or at least what could have been influenced by it. The guitars here sound rather crushing, coming in at a little louder then the others to give it a heavier sound that it desperately needs to properly work with the other sounds of the release like the additional violins, and the bass is clearly present and easily picked up for the most part, though largely just supporting the guitars in adding to the overall heavy sound, but not really helping the final product that much since the bass doesn’t really make much of an impact due to high light it sounds. The vocals here are a nice mixture of gutturals and some higher rhasps, and it seems like they don’t really become a necessity for the group as they don’t seem to be used as much as they could be, focusing more on the music, which is a good thing, especially since the rawer audio quality doesn’t really help to beef up the vocals at all, causing them to sound a bit weak.
There’s also a lack of consistancy to them, even right at the start. For the most part, you can’t help but feel that Furor Gallico is aiming to be a more Folk driven Amon Amarth, which is evident on songs like “Cathubodva” and it’s catchier music one could say has a bit of a Melodic Death Metal vibe to them, but at the same time seems to have a bit of a Black Metal touch to them, especially with the tight, rhaspier Immortal-esque vocal work that accompanies the epic guttural vocal attempt thanks to the additional layering involved. For the most part, the gutturals is what the group seems to strive for, but then you have a more generic Black Metal rhasp that ends up feeling rather weak in comparison, largely due to the recording quality making them sound rather hollow for “Venti Di Imbolc,” and there’s even some vocals that sound like shouting of some sort on “Ancient Rites,” and clean singing found on some of those songs as well. Furor Gallico definitely ends up being a mixed bag in that aspect, though musically the release does sound pretty consistent, though the Folk instruments actually end up coming off more like a tacked on gimmick to the group then anything. Some moments, when the music feels a little more upbeat, the violin performance works well with it, and even the wistles work at those times too. However, the harp included on the release feels a bit more like overkill. The volume level on it is actually quite loud which ends up being a bit more atrocious then it is a solid sound, and the entire time listening to the material the band is performing, you will more then likely sit there wishing you could just hear the music and not have so much going on all at once taking away from the traditional Metal instruments and the catchy, glorious, and/or epic atmosphere inducing music they weave themselves.
But, despite some of the album’s flaws, Furor Gallico does end up having some solid material for the listener when it’s done right. Of those songs, “Medhelan” stands out nicely with it’s very somber, yet glorious sounding music that properly takes the Folk instruments into consideration without coming off like they wrote a beautiful song and then threw the violin or harp in later to stay on the folk-driven side of the spectrum. The lower rhaspy vocals work well against the music, and the spacing between them and the gutturals sounds fantastic. “Bright Eyes” makes for an interesting Folk instrumental that is composed primarily around the folk instruments and not the traditional guitars or drums. It’s an interesting song that actually feels a bit emotional and moving at times given that more nature-driven sound that typically accomodates the style. This is one of a few other Folk driven instrumentals that take a step back from the Metal to try to enhance the atmosphere, and while it may not be the greatest track, and the same can be said about others like “Golden Spiral,” it does make for a decent break and to add a little more to the release without it feeling like the band is trying to slip filler material by you.
And that ends up being one of the more important things about this release. There really are not any songs on Furor Gallico that seem even remotely like filler. The only song you can bring into question would be the song “Curmisagios” due to how closely it resembles Korpiklaani‘s brand of Folk Metal. The Folk instruments actually seem to be better incorporated the further along in the album you get too, with these tracks just highlighting the fact of what’s to come a lot better then some earlier tracks. This isn’t to say that “Venti Di Imbolc” or even “Cathubodva” are bad, but between what sounds lik forced folk instruments and related music, as well as some inconsistency on the vocals, an issue that does show up on “The Glorious Dawn” when the clean vocals try to go epic heights of attempted falsettos in a traditional Heavy Metal fashion, it’s a bit hard to sit back and find these songs that enjoyable other then some standard Folk music layered over what sounds like some regular music that possibly has some potential.
Furor Gallico makes for a good album, but in the end it just kind of drives that nail further into the coffin of Folk Metal thanks to the argument that the style is fading as quickly as it started. Much of the music here ends up being either too much, or just a little on the typical side of things. There’s very few tracks that genuinely stand out, though the better tracks that come up as you reach the end show a good deal of promise for the band. If you like genuine folk instruments played over your Metal, Furor Gallico does end up being worth something to give a spin once in a while, but right now it suffers from the typical blues that any debut recording would traditionally have.