HERZOG – Furnace
Origin: Belgium 🇧🇪
Genre: Black Metal
Label: Amor Fati
From out upon the fringes of the scene, away from all the pervasive early 90s worship and along where the visceral side of black metal is joined with the experimental, is where you’ll find Belgium’s HERZOG – a new black metal entity whose focus is not on either future nor past as suffering is timeless. Their brand of cathartic, highly intense and gravitationally unforgiving black metal like nothing you’ve ever experienced and on November 24, HERZOG, in conspiracy with Amor Fati, will unveil their debut LP, “Furnace”.
I expected transcendence. After all, bands today are either doing things the old way or attempting to reinvent the game, with not much else in between. But what I’m met with here is more of a dark reflection into self as a catalyst to an even blacker mode of expression. As if afire over an unseen inferno themselves, every progression and every composition blazes with feverish energy under Déhà’s daring approach to product – a mad scientist’s method that has yielded an overbearingly ominous and chasmic album. All phases glaring through the mix just before their ghastly emanations radiate into a most cavernous backdrop. Like the desperate echoes of a thousand souls in peril, as powerful as can be expected vocal contribution proving to be the meat of the recording, particularly in “Acheminement” and “Oath of Weakness”. The former a flexion of brute muscle in guttural form. The lowliest bellows and the mightiest roars to bludgeon and batter. The latter an ascension in comparison as the intensity is dialed up a bit and a misery-drenched, early Sargeist-heralding vocal scourge is incurred.
It’s as if every cut on the record was composed with the worst of intentions. Agony incarnate, dread in sonic form and without even a sliver of mercy or compassion to embrace you as every second of the album plays out like the soundtrack to one losing all that ever mattered. With “Furnace”, HERZOG boldly traverses the depths of despair and owns each square foot of cathartic real estate. A reasonably experimental work; one that feels much like an exploration of the human condition as lain before you, packaged in all the blackened familiarities: tremolo riffs, blast-beats and epic comps.
I’d say that in the scheme of comparison, HERZOG are earning their place among the likes of bands like Mgła and Horda whose excursions into the spheres of suffering, misanthropy and nihilism feel similar to what I’m experiencing here. Only one drawback – I would’ve honestly appreciated a more conventional approach to product. A palatable touch; something similar to Satyricon’s self-titled album or the aforementioned Sargeist’s “Let the Devil In” would’ve served this recording well. More than a valiant effort and a worthy debut is “Furnace”. Something not quite transcendent, but definitely different from what you’ve come to expect from the underground.
I rate this album a 7.5/10
Your Thoughts on the album?
Experience “Melted Tesseract” from “Furnace” right here as presented by Amor Fati:
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