FURZE
"U.T.D."

(Candlelight)

01. A Life About My Sabbath
02. Demonic Order In the Eternal Fascist's Fall
03. Beneath the Wings of the Black Vomit Above
04. The Deeds That Grasp To the Candle's Shade
05. Mandragora Officinarum
06. Goatbreath
07. Deep In the Pot of Fresh Antipodal Weave
08. Djerve Djevel

RATING: 4/10

The worst stereotypical excesses of one-man black metal bands are on infamous display here, as Norway's FURZE clatter through eight tracks of atonal, horribly-recorded, comical noise collages that have more in common with hallucinogenic musique concrete experiments than anything resembling actual songwriting. Usually, projects like this can be diplomatically glossed over with a "hey, if you're into that sort of thing, it's pretty good" disclaimer. That may be the case here, but only if you're into self-indulgent and pretentious audio trainwrecks.

The frustrating thing is, when there's some hint of structure involved — especially on the first and third tracks, where SATYRICON drummer Frost lends his talents — FURZE comes up with some harrowing riffs and manages to occasionally create some frightening, primitive black metal atmosphere. Even on these songs, though, it sounds like someone let their child play randomly with the sliders on the mixing board – one of the tom drums will be unnaturally loud, for example, or a vocal will phase in and out. Meanwhile, the bass is playing some circus tune seemingly unrelated to the song at hand, while overamped microphones seem to have been given to random passers-by or dropped into pots of boiling grease.

It all starts to make a twisted kind of sense after a while. I'm not sure if that's because it actually does make sense, if the record gets more coherent as it progresses, or because FURZE's beyond-ridiculous delivery is so inexorable and unrelenting, it begins to actually rot out the logic centers of the listener's brain. I do know that the second half has its own title ("The Wealth of the Penetration in the Abstract Paradigmas of Satan") to differentiate it from side one ("Beneath the Odd-Edge Sounds To the Twilight Contract of the Black Fascist"), and that "Goatbreath" and "Djerve Djevel" have sorta boogie-rock riffs in them. So maybe FURZE decided to leave the performance art YOKO ONO shit on the back burner and just play some music the further along this little odyssey went. Or not. Who knows?

By the time we hit "Deep In the Pot of Fresh Antipodal Weave" (I can't wait to shout that out from the front row at the next concert!), some creepy crooner is singing through what sounds like a mouthful of fresh squid, the practice-amp treble-fest guitar tone is starting to make me sick to my stomach, and it's hard to care any more. Art it may be, but no one should have to work this hard to find something to like about a record they just spent money on. Either FURZE is playing a colossal, albeit already tired, joke on everyone with this amateur hour of pseudo-theatrical sonic slagheap, or this really is some inspired, revolutionary artistic statement that takes traditional black metal into a new and rarefied realm. Either way, by the end of the record, I just don't give a shit.

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