For every band that claims to be pushing the boundaries in an attempt to be “edgy”, there is always a band who are content to stay in familiar territories. These guys push forward to create kickass music the oldschool way; bow down to the posters of metal gods on their walls, then turn around and sieve through the best parts for a pure and unrefined dose of heavy f’ing metal. Case in point, UK-based Fury, who have released 2 EPs in consecutive years. I picked up both of these after seeing them play in Bristol, and decided to run a double-feature containing both discs. Aren’t you a lucky lot?
Starting off back in 2011, we have a 5-track self-titled EP that sets the scene fairly quickly. It’s a scene filled with denim, either from the 70s British metal sound laid out by Judas Priest and Saxon or the 80s US thrash sound that spawned Megadeth, Metallica and Exodus. If any of those names are familiar to you, then you are certainly on the same page as Fury.
“Faith That Would Kill” is a no-nonsense kick-off point that evokes Kill ‘Em All-era Metallica crossed with Angel Witch, with twin solos snaking around thick riffs. Vocalist Julian Jenkins has one of the more unique voices in this genre, a lot breathier and softer than expected, but that only adds character to an otherwise familiar sound. Instrumentally the band remain pumped through the 23-minute runtime: many a memorable riff and solo are scattered through the 5 songs, such as on “Eyes Of The Dead” with its fist-in-the-air chorus. “War Machine” remains the band’s thrashy Iron Maiden tribute with its souped-up bass sound, while “Purgatory” evokes a Gama Bomb sensibility as the band gallop alongside the memorable chorus for a thundering finale.
The band members cannot be faulted for their potent heavy/thrash metal hybrid. The instrumentation especially continues to impress, as the band manage to make what seems on paper to be rehashed actually sound full of vitality and novelty. The only fault that sticks out on repeated listens lies with the voice. The lead vocals could have done with a boost; when Jenkins steps it up a gear like on “Dawn Of Survival” it sounds much stronger and enhances the overall ambience. The backing vocals also need a bit of work, particularly “Eyes Of The Dead” where a bit more cohesion in the shout-along section would have given the song a smoother finish.
In short, Fury is a fun EP to spin, and despite the band’s blatant influences worn in patches on their denim jackets, they aren’t a hindrance to banging your head to the blaring music. As Cronos famously declared: “Lay down your soul to the gods rock n’ roll!”
Seconds up, round two. Burn The Earth EP was let loose last year, seeing a new and improved sound. It becomes quickly apparent that the self-titled EP was a stepping stone, as the band have improved in production quality, technical finesse and vocal delivery, as well as slipping in a new minor influence. The four diverse tracks present on here are sure to tickle the fancy of any lover of so-called ‘traditional metal’ fan, so let’s dive right in.
The title track is a potent starter, through the starting gates with a hurtling riff and Jenkins standing tall as he sings a song about heavy metal. “Set the skies on fire, burn the Earth tonight!” he roars, as not one but three solos pop out in unexpected places. The song sets a promising tone for the rest of the EP. “Dangerous World” sees the band take the speed down a notch but up their game lyrically, with a slightly spooky overtone to an otherwise catchy chorus. There is a danger you may blink and miss the 15-second bursts of solos that pepper the other tracks, but here they take their time to develop the solo, a lengthier piece that slots in well with the overall tone of the song.
“In To The Dark” sees the inaugural integration of power metal into Fury’s sound, and not just in the lyrical subject concerning the Legend of Zelda. The whole song has a whiff of cheese about it; try singing along without smiling to yourself. Similarly, “Life Eternal” continues the power metal touch to the lyrics, but musically returns to brazen heavy/thrash metal, creating an interesting dichotomy between the two as the final piece in the puzzle, and the song rounds out strongly.
As previously stated, Burn The Earth EP is a step up from the self-titled, and the songs definitely feel more ‘them’ as opposed to honoring their idols. The vocals have upped the ante, the mixing is polished but not squeaky-clean, and there is something intangible that just makes these songs better. However, there is still room for improvement. For some reason, the bridge parts suffer most in the EP, particularly in the first two tracks. The former one in particular is a redundant repetition of “burn, earth, tonight”, but it soon redeems itself with the song’s final section. But this is hair-splitting compared to looking at the product as a whole.
In the end, Fury deliver where it matters: honest-to-goodness old-fashioned heavy metal. They have created an excellent slab of music, straddling the boundary between taking influence from the past and yet actually doing something with it, which is a step above many of their peers. With time to develop and the right touch to the mixing, Fury will have a potent disc on their hands. Until then, Burn The Earth EP will do just nicely.
Julian Jenkins – vocals
Jake Beesley – guitars
Martin Trail – bass
Alasdair Davis – drums