Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Fuath - "I" (Album Review)

By: Daniel Jackson

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 1/2/2016
Label: Fortriu Productions |
Neuropa Records



Taken purely at face value, this album sounds like nothing out of the ordinary, and yet because the music is so evocative, particularly of the scenery its album cover paints, it excels in a way that even the most lauded acts in the subgenre can’t compete with.  When you listen to ‘I’, it digs something out of your mind and projects it front and center for you to reflect upon. It paints the picture it means to, and it does so vividly. This album proves that if you’re tired of this sound, it’s because the bands you’re listening to are tired, rather than the sound itself.


‘I’ CD//DD track listing:

1. In the Halls of the Hunter
2. Blood
3. The Oracle
4. Spirit of the North

Fuath is:

Andy Marshall | Everything

The Review:

I think it’s fair to say that the bloom is off the rose somewhat, when it comes to atmospheric black metal and its various sub-sub-subgenres. It feels like there is an avalanche of it every year, and the novelty’s completely worn away from it by now. It got to a point where it started to feel like everyone on earth who could string some minor chords together and throw some reverb-soaked leads over the top of them were all making the same album all at once and then releasing them under different names.

But what does any of that have to do with Andy Marshall (also of Saor) and his latest project Fuath? I bring all of that up because it’s important to note that ‘I’ is an absolute joy to listen to in spite of the conditions in which it’s released. Over the last year or so, I’d come to understand that the style was simply overdone, to the point of tedium and that no good could come of it regardless of who was putting out the music. This album proves that it can still be done in a way that captures your imagination and avoids the trappings of “this is just (blank) mixed with (blank)”.

Where Fuath outshines the vast majority of its contemporaries, is in the quality of its songwriting. The musical components are what you’d expect. Reverb-drenched guitars, drums that have a lot of room to them, and cavernous reverb on the vocals, which are kept low in the mix. Taken purely at face value, this album sounds like nothing out of the ordinary, and yet because the music is so evocative, particularly of the scenery its album cover paints, it excels in a way that even the most lauded acts in the subgenre can’t compete with.


In looking for an example to focus on, that is illustrative of the whole of the album, I’d point to the opening moments of “Blood”. The song is anchored by a pretty basic 4/4 rock beat at first, allowing the swelling guitars to take the focus without getting in the way. The drums often serve as a solid backbone, rather than being busy for the sake of proving it can be done. Meanwhile, the color and spirit of the album comes from the guitars, which are thickly layered and bursting with forlorn melody. And while a lot of the album revolves around a similar feeling, each song feels like it creates its own unique shade of that same feeling.

While I’m not someone who puts a lot of stock in the authenticity of things, at least not as far as being more important than the finished product itself, there’s nothing about ‘I’ that ever feels “put on” or phony. Whether this album was crafted in a cabin, twenty miles from the nearest living soul or put together in a crowded city with hundreds of people jammed into each block; it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that when you listen to ‘I’, it digs something out of your mind and projects it front and center for you to reflect upon. It paints the picture it means to, and it does so vividly. This album proves that if you’re tired of this sound, it’s because the bands you’re listening to are tired, rather than the sound itself.

You can pick up a digital copy here and a CD copy here.


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