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Batillus - "Furnace" (CD)

Batillus - "Furnace" CD cover image

"Furnace" track listing:

1. ...And The World is as Night to Them (8:53)
2. Deadweight (5:39)
3. Uncreator (3:39)
4. The Division (8:21)
5. What Heart (7:44)
6. Mautaam (10:03)

Reviewed by on April 13, 2011

"Fans of massive riffs and being crushed to death in slow motion have got a fantastic album to look forward to in 'Furnace.'"

Following several shorter releases primarily available at live shows and a vinyl split with Hallowed Butchery (reviewed here), New York doom act Batillus is finally dropping the long-awaited debut full-length album “Furnace.” Now fully equipped with a vocalist, Batillus is filling out its sound and taking the reins of its own destiny. The long stretches of simmering doom found in previous outings are all here, but cranked up a notch as the group finds its footing and looks to make an impact on the sludgy metal scene.

The opening track “…And The World Is As Night To Them” makes it seem like Hallowed Butchery really rubbed off on the doom titans, because the song has a claustrophobic atmosphere that wasn’t as noticeable in earlier releases. Rather than just crawling heaviness and reverberating aftershocks of the massive guitar tones, the song has a distinctive style that sets it apart from bands that play a similar style. Vocalist Fade Kainer makes his presence known almost immediately on the song, and the gravely screams sound like they should have been there all along. There are still long stretches without any vocal support, but now the various segments taking either approach sound equally at ease and fit the music without skipping a beat.

Although there are plenty of improvements and the quality overall is top notch, pretty much every debut album is still going to have some rough spots and areas that could have come off better. “Deadweight” comes close to living up to its namesake when compared to the other tracks, but it’s saved by a psychedelic guitar segment near the end. Album closer “Mautaam” also shows that Batillus made a good decision in trimming down the staggering song lengths from previous albums. Most of the tracks on “Furnace” reach their end by the eight minute mark, but “Mautaam” is the exception. At a full 10 minutes, it’s just a smidge too long and doesn’t have enough steam to last the entire duration.

“The Division” makes a reappearance from the band’s last split release, and as before it simply crushes. The long feedback opening might seem like an overused idea, but Batillus takes the concept and makes it a legitimate musical device, rather than a gimmick. The guitar transforms into something ghostly and hypnotic halfway through for a welcome change of pace, as one can only be bludgeoned for so long.

Fans of massive riffs and being crushed to death in slow motion have got a fantastic album to look forward to in “Furnace.” For a debut full-length, Batillus has done something pretty spectacular.

Highs: Gravely screams fit the doom sound well, the atmosphere is more unique this time around

Lows: Some segments drag on too much, and the closing track is too long for its own good

Bottom line: The slow moving metal act further refines the crushing doom sound with a great debut full-length

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)