It’s probably safe to say that the late 1980’s and early 1990’s were the most significant when it comes to what molded my musical taste into the rabid, death-dealing beast of diversity it is today. Yes, those are the bygone days when I witnessed my own budding interest in all things in any way metal-related take root and grow like the fucking merciless Black Death. Whether the band in question were doom, thrash or death metal, old-school hardcore or even some dark industrial madness didn’t seem to matter much in my mind. If it was “heavy” in any sense (and new to me), I gave it at least a trial run. When looking for new music at the time, it seemed like I was always on the lookout for the originators of the particular sound I was hunting for at the moment. But as time passed, a new question in my mind quickly formed, “What is this new band doing that helps break it away from the pack?”, and it still resonates within my skull to this day. So, imagine my delight when I was finally able to take in the punishing juggernaut of sound produced by Brooklyn, New York’s avant garde doom outfit, Batillus. They are apparently here to destroy us all. This band has truly constructed their very own lethally-charged brand of Armageddon for the ears. It’s the kind of stuff you’d expect to hear as the background arrangement for a skull-crushing, planet-destroying cataclysm. A sonic sledgehammer fuelled by the scorching flames of Hell, if you will. Conjuring a toxic brew of atmospheric, industrial-tinged sludge, and with just a handful of EP and split releases unleashed since their formation in 2008, the band was somehow still somewhat unfamiliar to my ears until recently. For you see, ladies and gentlemen, with their debut full-length, Furnace (Seventh Rule Recordings/Vendetta), the quartet have just acquired another rabid fan, and I’m sure they’ll win tons more over with ease.
Mastered by Sanford Parker (Nachtmystium, Yob, etc.), Furnace is a collection of Godzilla-sized doom ditties, that for the most part exceed five minutes in length. Furnace sets the pace with “…And The World Is As Night To Them”, a number filled to the brim with slow, destructive riffs and vocalist Fade Kainer’s raspy, blackened screeches and howls. By the mid-way point of this nearly nine minute song, you’ll likely feel like you’re in what could best be described as an abyss of despair, which if you’re not a fan of such feeling, something may be wrong. “Deadweight” trudges along like an anchor, ripping up the ground beneath the depths. “Uncreator” takes on a rather harsh black metal-oriented approach in just about every aspect. The re-visitation of “The Division” sees the track take on a more synth-related approach, in place of blunt feedback. Meanwhile, the record’s monstrosity of a closer, “Mautaam”, takes the prize as the most lengthy work on Furnace, laying waste to everything in sight in just a few seconds over ten minutes.
Pretty much everything about Furnace is a kick to the face of whatever weak shit you’re listening to at the moment. Most of us can say that we own more than a few records that contain some fairly disposable shit, at the least. Well, this isn’t one of them. This beast is trimmed of the fat and ready for war. Call it “doom“. Call it “sludge“. Call it a “blissfully-orchestrated, blackened synth-doom shitstorm“. Hell, call it whatever your heart so desires. Rest assured that this reviewer calls the new Batillus offering a “goddamn masterpiece“. Do yourself a favor, faithful reader, and jump into the Furnace!!