Forged In Fury
- Year 2015
- Genre Death Metal
- Country Brazil
- Label Century Media
- Rating Mediocre
Since forming in 1990 Brazilian fraternity Krisiun has weathered storms, and survived changing tastes and trends thanks to its rock-solid line-up and dedication to its craft. Now on to their tenth album the band has seen its ups and downs, artistically. With its fair share of early classics, and a number of lesser albums, the trio shows no signs of letting up. 25 years after forming the brothers return with ‘Forged In Fury’ – but is it able to stand the test of time and does it measure up to Krisiun’s own catalog?
Five albums deep into its more accessible second era it would be foolish to expect from the brothers to return to the sound that made them famous. Despite the album title there isn’t any fury to be found herein. For a band that once was the very embodiment of over-the-top extremity, ‘Forged In Fury’ sounds remarkably average, and, well, dull. Brazil’s most enduring brand is now perhaps more popular than ever, but what they have won in name recognition they lost in artistic vision. ‘Forged In Fury’ is a product, first and foremost, for the masses: undemanding, easily digestible and with enough fist-pumping moments to keep the mentally arrested crowds happy. Below the surface however it is as vacuous and flaccid as the formulaic song titles, and the press releases suggest.
‘Forged In Fury’ is the antithesis of 2003’s ‘Works Of Carnage’ in the sense that whereas that album reduced songs to the barest essentials, the songs here just seem to be longer for no logical reason other that they can. The overall tempo is much, much lower in comparison to past records, and there are extended solo/lead sections. The performances, especially those of lead guitarist Moyses Kolesne, themselves are fiery, and spirited – but the songs are overlong affairs that fail to offer up any notable payoffs. It’s quite far from Krisiun’s definite lowpoint (‘AssassiNation’, ‘Southern Storm’) but it doesn’t chart the lofty heights of ‘Works Of Carnage’ or ‘Apocalyptic Revelation’ either. The times of ‘Conquerors Of Armageddon’ and ‘Ageless Venomous’ are long behind us.
Only The Isolated Truth, Oracle Of the Ungod and limited edition bonus track Earth’s Cremation keep things concise and to-the-point. As such there’s no Creation’s Scourge, Kings Of Killing, Hatred Inherit or Murderer to be found on this record. For a band once so famously furious ‘Forged In Fury’ is technically, from a performance – and production standpoint, impressive – but it’s also lethargic, meandering and needlessly bloated in its songwriting. Each of the longer songs would have benefitted from trimming. Excising a minute or two would have made each of these tracks far more direct, punchy and visceral. There’s a wealth of material present on the album but the long winding writing style doesn’t do these ideas any favors whatsoever. Whenever a track finally seems to be taking off the band insists of pulling it back to a plodding, marching midtempo that doesn’t suit their playing at all. Krisiun is at its best when it plays fast, compact and rigidly – this album does neither.
Krisiun has seen better days
Alex Camargo accordingly has adopted a bloviating vocal approach, and he’s hellbent on putting in as many lines as the songs allow. His vocals have lost much of the grit, and he shouts and barks more than he actually grunts. It’s surprisingly similar to Max Cavalera’s vocals circa ‘Chaos AD’. Truthfully, he’s more of a hindrance than help at this point. The brothers are stellar musicians in their own right, but they simply don’t have the songwriting chops to pull this kind of material off. Krisiun suffers from the same problem that has plagued post-‘Dawn Of the Apocalypse’ Vital Remains in the last decade, namely dragging out standard 3-minute songs to artificially convoluted “epics”. Only the lead guitar pyrotechnics make it worth sitting through each of these songs.
Individual parts are exemplary, and portions of certain songs are great by themselves – but on the whole ‘Forged In Fury’ is a directionless, bloated album that not only undercuts the strengths of the brothers but also takes far too long to get to the point. When said point finally arrives it doesn’t justify the buildup it took to get such lukewarm result. For an album that lasts nearly an hour there simply aren’t enough ideas per song to justify dragging them out for as long the brothers do. Even the song titles sound formulaic and trite this time around with such stellar examples of creative dearth as Ways Of Barbarism, Dogma Of Submission, and Soulless Impaler. The instrumental interludes that have been littering Krisiun albums since 2001’s ‘Ageless Venomous’ are thankfully negligible. The closing instrumental Milonga de la Muerte feels more like a randomly put together afterthought than an actual song.
After tracking three albums at Stage One Studio with Andy Classen in Germany, ‘Forged In Fury’ was recorded at Mana Studios in St. Petersburg, Florida with Erik Rutan behind the console. The production is actually pretty tolerable, with warm, organic and meaty sounding snare drums. The bass drums sound commanding and crunchy. Moyses Kolesne’s guitar tone is the best he has had in years. Alex Camargo’s bass guitar has been dealt the cruellest of hands as it sounds the clearest it has ever sounded, but it is completely robbed of power and grimy low end otherwise. It’s the best Max Kolesnes’ drums have sounded in quite some years. It, surprisingly, isn’t the reverb-laden, feedback-drenched, muddied type production job that Rutan has become associated with. The artwork by Joe Petagno is amazing in how much it doesn’t look like a classic Petagno creation. This is as far away from the infernal and hellish canvasses he painted for Angelcorpse, Diabolic, Unlord and Vital Remains as one could possibly imagine. It actually looks more like a digitalization of a Miran Kim painting.
Krisiun has seen better days, and while there’s no doubt about the band’s passion and dedication to its genre, ‘Forged In Fury’ charts new lows. After the lows of ‘AssassiNation’ and ‘Southern Storm’ the band had something to prove, but this is not cutting it. The transgressions lie not in dubious stylistic deviations, or left-of-field experimentations – but rather with fatigue with, and the limitations of being a power trio, in its genre of choice. The death metal genre is ill-suited for this rather flagrant attempt at writing a thinly-veiled epic heavy metal, or groove-filled thrash metal record bearing the Krisiun coat of arms. It’s the same diversion that killed Immortal’s career post the universally awful ‘Blizzard Beasts’. Technically and visually impressive ‘Forged In Fury’ continues the unfortunate downward spiral of Krisiun into populism and irrelevance. The Black Force Domain was never farther way than it is now…