Furyon – Gravitas
Man, has this album been all over the internet lately! Every social networking, metal news, and PR site has been screaming out Furyon for the past two months, and I’ve finally taken the time to listen through the band’s highly touted debut Gravitas. Even with a few drams of salt, the hype was great enough that I figured there had to be something from this new “sensation” from the UK. Given the sources of press and the general vibe that it gave off, I felt like this was supposed to be a modern breed of melodic heavy metal/hard rock along the lines of the Allen/Lande project or Unisonic’s recent release. What I got was a good deal of confusion, and something else entirely.
What Gravitas feels like, put simply, is a very basic and vocal-centric pop/alt metal album (with even a few grunge influences thrown in) that tries very hard to pass itself off as more sophisticated and less commercialized than it actually is. This offends me a bit, but truth be told, there’s nothing really offensive about the band’s music. So I chalk the poor labeling and misguided marketing up to the PR reps and move on. One note here: this album was actually independently released by the band in 2010, and then discovered and re-released by Frontiers in 2012.
Furyon’s debut is very different from what I’m used to hearing from Frontiers (and indeed, the reason I was hopeful to begin with was because I realized it was a Frontiers release), and has a strange duality to it that weakens it considerably in my eyes. Vocalist Matt Mitchell is competent enough, but his appearance and rugged singing style remind me a bit too much of American hard rock/pop metal (like Nickelback and company) for me to remain completely comfortable. Instrumentally, this is completely unexceptional. Guitars, other than a bit of basic riffing, are largely rhythmic and punctuative, and any fan of heavy and power metal will be undersold on the solo work here.
When I say duality, I’m referring mainly to the two basic groups of songs. Basic hard rockers like opener “Disappear Again” and “Voodoo Me” are pretty straightforward, but then Furyon does a very curious thing: they include several longer tracks (three clock in at over seven and a half minutes) that are most unusual for this style of music. During these songs (“Souvenirs”, “Fear Alone”, and “Desert Suicide”), the group manages to accomplish absolutely nothing. These tunes aren’t nearly interesting enough to attract the attention of any well-groomed prog fan, and they’re nowhere near memorable enough to keep the attention of most of the more “basic” listeners that the band’s other tracks are bound to attract. They’re hardly bad, and everything is very professionally recorded, so I’m simply nonplussed by them.
This album is not for me, I don’t care for more mainstream metal, and Furyon aren’t bringing much to the table to attract anyone other than mainstream listeners. The lack of enthusiasm in their longer tracks also makes me dubious of any potential therein. Gravitas will find the occasional fan that enjoys this more basic sort of music, and might get a few pop metal listeners into something better, but there’s no lasting value for most of us.
Dan’s Rating: 2.5 out of 5