“Gravitas” is a stunning debut album from UK-rockers Furyon, and it’s an album that seems almost impossibly well-crafted for a first effort. The band’s heavy, powerful sound hooks you from the blistering first track “Disappear Again” (you might have heard it while playing the video-game Dirt 3), and after that these guys just don’t let go.
This is solid hard rock and heavy metal with influences of grunge and progressive rock. There are echoes of Led Zeppelin, Soundgarden, Rush, and others, but Furyon are very much their own thing: this is clearly a band with the confidence and skill to sound like themselves.
Furyon’s music is powered by the superb guitar-work of Chris Green and Pat Heath, who dispense crushingly heavy riffs and blazing solos with equal proficiency and authority. The sound is reinforced by the rock-solid heaviness of Alex “Nickel” Bowen on bass, and Lee Farmery on drums. Finally, all this musical skill and power is decked out with the vocal brilliance of Matt Mitchell. His voice is a force to be reckoned with: it can soar, clear and strong, above the fury of the music, dip into a raspy growl, rise into a scream, or sink low into an almost crooning softness.
“Gravitas” opens with the band swinging their heavy metal hammer of power on “Disappear Again”, a full-on blast of rock’n’roll that leaves you wanting more (that’s what repeat is for). Then it powers on, straight into a barrage of furious guitars and bone-shaking bass and drums on “Stand Like a Stone”, with Mitchell’s vocal skills on full display as his voice snarls and slithers across the pounding music.
There are several other standout tracks on “Gravitas”. My own favourites, besides “Disappear Again”, include the swaggering, headbang-inducing “Don’t Follow”; the scratchy-voiced, slightly boozy and seductive “Voodoo Me”; and “Fear Alone”, a glorious track that builds up slowly from nothing but a whisper until the guitars come at you, fully charged. “Fear Alone” has vibes of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir”, and showcases Furyon’s often haunting lyrics: “Clutching skin/ Close to the bone/ It’s not mine to own”.
“Gravitas” is not a concept album, but the tracks really feel like they fit together, with each one telling a different part of the same tale. Moving from the battle-fury of “Stand Like a Stone” and “Souvenirs”, to the more introspective mood and almost tender vocals of “Our Peace Someday” and “Desert Suicide”, this is an album that speaks (to me at least) of the turmoil and battles that take place within each of us, as well as in the world around us.
The thing that impresses me the most is that the band’s technical excellence is infused with so much passion. There’s a soul in Furyon’s heavy metal, and the depth of the lyrics gives the album an emotional heft worthy of the title “Gravitas”.
This is a band that has the complete package: great song-writing skills, outstanding musicianship, and an exceptional singer. I hope to hear a lot more from them in the near future, and I also hope their tour-schedule eventually brings them to my neck of the woods. There’s at least one west-coast Canadian hoping to catch this band live.
- Matt Mitchell – vocals and acoustic guitar
- Chris Green – lead/rhythm guitar
- Pat Heath – lead/rhythm guitar (Heath later left the band)
- Alex ‘Nickel’ Bowen – bass
- Lee Farmery – drums
(New lineup in 2014:
- Matt Mitchell – Vocals
- Alex “Nickel” Bowen – Bass
- Lee Farmery – Drums
- Luca Faraone – Guitars
- Tiago Rosado – Guitars)
- Disappear Again
- Stand Like Stone
- Don’t Follow
- New Way Of Living
- Voodoo Me
- Fear Alone
- Wasted On You
- Our Peace Someday
- Desert Suicide
- Voodoo Me (acoustic)
- Souvenirs (acoustic)
(This review was originally published at Hard Rock Nights.)