Furze is a widely unknown band name in the Black Metal circle, being acknowledged more in the underground scene for it’s experimental approach to Black Metal, but most of the time not in a proud manner. This one man Black Metal act takes an interesting approach to the music being composed, which is to take a more first wave Black Metal/NWOBHM sound, and fuze it with Psychadelic Rock. Of course, this has lead for some of the underground purists to turn their back on the band simply because it’s just not traditional Black Metal by any real means, and really just seems to mess with the listener more then anything. With the sprawling struggle for fans of Black Metal to define the sound of the new third wave, and find a new take on the style that will stick based on the defined ideas that drive the music and fan base, Furze becomes an interesting contender if anything, but, does this really offer anything that would catch on for the style?
While this idea is an interesting one, chances are good that it’ll just stay within Furze‘s reach and not really extend out to other musicians. The idea is pretty simple, which is to create an album that basically takes the general Black Metal concepts, but makes a more Psychadelic Rock envionment through simpler chords to create an often upbeat, or sometimes dark atmosphere, whichever seems to serve the flow of the song. While the idea isn’t too bad and the music is enjoyable for what it is, Reaper Subconscious Guide isn’t really the strongest underground Black Metal outfit out there. This stems mostly due to the production, which, in traditional underground fashion, is a very raw quality that borders on a Mono sound quality taken from a cassette recording.
Of course, this does aid the atmosphere of the recording, and many tracks on this release sound like something that Rob Zombie may utilize for one of his horror films, or even just some low budget horror film from the sixties to early seventies, but the problem is that the music winds up being so simple due to the slower pace and Psychadelic influences that it all sounds abnormally hollow, which makes the recording often come off bland and boring with longer then necessary track lengths, with the longest being “Essential Wait”, which clocks in at nearly thirteen and a half minutes. The vocals are more along the whispered or spoken word side, but “The Bonedrum” has a raspier approach that comes off more silly at first, but eventually the listener will realize how it fits in with the song due to it’s more droning musical composition, and the slowest pace then anything on this release, making it one of the more interesting tracks off the release.
That track is also the only one that really seems to capture and utilize that hollow, empty sound on the recording. “Immortal Lecture” actually features a quicker pace, and some deeper distortion on the guitars, which adds a little bite to the music and fills some of the emptiness that the production quality gives the album. But, other then that, the rest of the album doesn’t find any benefit from that hollow sound. There’s also some irritating keyboard or xylophone sounds through some songs, which is very high pitched and sounds more like a music box rendition of a piano playing, or even from a children’s toy. While it’s a nice touch and makes the songs a little haunting atop the trippy feeling, they are just obnoxiously loud in the mix, having a high pitch that is worse then hearing nails go down a chalk board. But that’s not all, as “The Bonedrum” ends with sirens that, like this piano sounds, are high pitched, but even more highpitched to the point that the sound is shrill enough to mess with your speakers as they get higher and higher before the song ends.
But, even with these complications in the music, Reaper Subconscious Guide is not all that bad an effort, especially from Furze. As something different and experimental, it stands out, and honestly does capture a more Stoner Rock feel to the music that works well with the Black Metal sound being portrayed. This also comes off more an as effort that was actually destined for a vinyl release, and chances are good that, with a vinyl player, this album will have more strength and the hollow sound of the music will come out in aid of the album a lot better then a clearer digital print on a CD. Of course, the vinyl pressing of this release was a limited edition thing, which quickly sold out, so unless someone re-presses it, this is the version the album will remain, and from an standpoint of trying to do something new and different, it’s definitely an obscure and interesting musical approach that does have it’s shining moments. It’s just too bad the hollow production of the album has to hurt it so bad.