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Furnace – Dark Vistas

Dark Vistas
by Brian Lowrie at 14 October 2020, 6:02 PM

If there was ever a common ground between fans and musicians of extreme metal, it is this: We are all, to some extent, fans of the work of acclaimed (and now, somewhat controversial) horror author HP Lovecraft. While his stories mostly revolve around the idea of malevolent beings greater than ourselves existing within our universe, death metal and black metal has often incorporated the cosmic abyss into lyrical subject matter (and some bands have even named themselves directly from his work).   The second album from Swedish death metal band Furnace called “Dark Vistas” is no exception to this rule, putting a Gothenburg-style twist on the horrors unknown.

Having never heard of Furnace before, the name gave an impression of a harsher, more violent sound; however, all self-given implications were put aside within the first minute of the opening track “Suburban Nightmare”. The track opens in a more melodic-doom style fashion, with a clean melody to hum along to while the distorted guitars remind you of what is to come. Vocalist and main songwriter Rogga Johansson make a notable, but not loud entrance, providing a low growl that will be the centric for the remainder of the album. Halfway through the track, the band embraces the melodic undertones presented thus far, making them the main focus. “The Other Ones” picks up the pace a bit, delivering a more mosh-worthy sound. There seems to be a bit more experimentation on this track, shown by exhibiting both instrumental and vocal dynamics.

The third track, “The Calling”, starts in a similar tempo as the track before, but with a more victorious folk-like melody. At 2:35 of the track, the tone is switched to being more downtempo and notably more black metal inspired, making this one of the more welcome left turns we have seen, in my opinion. “Yog-Sothoth (The Key And The Gate)”, named directly after the embodiment of all time and space in many of Lovecraft’s stories, is arguably a more straight-laced death metal track, choosing to prioritize dissonance and cavernous guitar tones over the more upbeat tracks. “94 Bloch Lane” starts as a bit of a love-letter to bands like Insomnium, but eventually finds itself blending this style with the more morose stylings of riffs heard previously on the album. While I found most of the track “Trapped” to feel rather uninspired, for lack of a better term, the black-metal influence during the chorus’ are worth mentioning, even if they aren’t necessarily breathtaking. “A Journey Through Dark Vistas” gives a first impression of being a ballad written for the void, calling back to the gloomy melodic-death-metal auras that have already been touched on previously in the opening track.

“Escape” is a track that seems to open with promise, with riffs that follow a code of traditional dissonance, only to become an ordeal that once again becomes a few great ideas in between other riffs that feel like they have already been done before. The first few bars of “From the Blackest Void” most likely could have benefited from vocals; Although the song feels the most daring from the album, incorporating odd timing and vocals that closer resemble yelling, the song still fits perfectly into the album. “Eve of Triumph” still attempts to benefit from the sound the rest of album has already established, even though this track is of a higher pace it still doesn’t break any molds set before. “Another Ending”, the albums final track, feels like a “lite” version of the first track; however, it often substitutes bombarding chords for single note lead lines.

In all honesty, I really wanted to enjoy this album. I consider myself to be a fan of most styles of metal and try to give all bands the benefit of the doubt upon the first few run-throughs. But, at the end of the day, I just found this album to be repetitious and dull, despite a somewhat hopeful start. With it being a concept album, I’m not sure if I must be more than vaguely familiar with the source material; but this album was just not my cup of tea, in both concept and styling. With that being said, if you are a fan of gloomier melodic death metal, you should still give this album a listen. There is a certain swagger that helps carry the music, and some of the riffs are catchier than hell and will get stuck in your head for the rest of the day. Unfortunately, it’s not enough to make me want to revisit this album after listening.

Songwriting: 6
Musicianship: 5
Memorability: 5
Production: 7.0

Overall: 6

3 Star Rating

1. Suburban Nightmare
2. The Other Ones
3. The Calling
4. Yog-Sothoth (The Key And The Gates)
5. 94 Bloch Lane
6. Trapped
7. A Journey Through Dark Vistas
8. Escape
9. From The Blackest Void
10. Eve of Triumph
11. Another Ending
Rogga Johansson – Guitar and Lead vocals
Peter Svensson – Bass and Backing vocals
Lars Demoke – Drums
Record Label: Soulseller Records


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Edited 27 November 2022

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