Batillus – Furnace (Seventh Rule, 2011)

I don't always see eye to eye with doom. The music has to have to some fiery flavor to keep me awake, engaged and interested. Batillus bring the basting brush and a bucket of homemade sauce to the BBQ, liberally lathering the doom in pungent riffs and spicy, memorable minutia.

Furnace's rhythmic diversity helps to hold me rapt throughout its 44 mammoth minutes. The often lumbering gait is by no means a sign of indolent torpor. Instead, the funereal pace serves to make every note count, make every riff heavy as fuck and every beat of the drums sound shatteringly intense. Batillus grasp the power of a gargantuan groove but don't abuse it as a device. Geoff Summers' percussive dexterity allows the band to incorporate an array of velocities, up to and including blistering blastbeats; his drumming is superlative.

Batillus revel in the doom but are no means confined by it. Riffs occasionally stray into melodic, tangy post-whatever radiance, leaving behind the tenebrous gloom, if only for a moment. Sparse but wisely used keyboards add interstitial melody that I find mesmerizing. For the most part, though, Greg Paterson's riffs are a slug-fest of sludgy ardour, served up with irresistible finesse. These resounding intonations are filled with hooks that engender a delightful sense of delirium. Sandford Parker's production spotlights gorgeous, gurgling guitar tones and gives ample space to fathomless depths of Willi Stabenau's bass.

The lyrics are cryptic missives on failure, decay, suffering and pain. Fade Kainer's voice adds a searing edge to these doomed slabs, spewing irate rancor over the album's six tracks. His vocals hit all the right spots, perfectly interlocking with each song's rhythmic essence. I'll be damned if the chorus of “Deadweight” hasn't been lodged in my skull for months: “Fall on your knees, crushed by it all. Poisoned this mind, blackened a soul.” I think that just about says it all.

84/100

You can buy the physical LP here, buy it digitally here and stream the entire album below:



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