Batillus – “Furnace”

★★★★½
Batillus - Furnace albumBatillus is a Brooklyn-based doom metal band that breaks a lot of ground, seemingly with their fists. It’s good to know that not everything coming out of the borough across The Bridge isn’t some twinker club playing synth lullabies from behind pawnshop shades. They’re heavy, they experiment with arrangement and melody (yeah, that’s right) and textures to create something that’s daresay, progressive. But it’s not progressive metal. No hairdos. No heshers. No hightops. No way.

Named after one of the largest tanker ships in history, the name is fitting for a unit that moves a world class shit-ton of sludge. On their new full-length “Furnace,” Batillus floats, dives and tugs through a three-quarters hour of massive low end, glass cannon vocals and punishing rhythms.

It’s easy to see why these guys are working their way out of the mire of me-too bands in this often self-serious genre, never once falling into parody. They can work the simplest riff into a true cacophony of noise, yet they don’t demand a large ratio of patience from their listeners. They get where they’re going without indulging in too much tangent, keeping the focus on the effect instead of virtuoso and showmanship. They lead, but don’t force. It’s a rare quality in heavy music, and it hints at the absolute confidence Batillus has in their material.

While vocalist F. Kainer garners most of the spotlight in the front field, the secret weapon of the band has to be Stabenau’s bass work; on the right audio system, the low end seems to arc from the ceiling and force its way through your organs. Once it finds the frequency, it conjures notes that make the listener nearly sea sick, yet sets into the pocket that allows G. Peterson’s guitar to move from spiny jabs to full-bodied bulk. Chords grind like turbines with missing teeth, falling ever heavier as “Furnace” progresses to it’s last grunt. Yet it doesn’t exhaust, and primes the listener to reload for another cycle.

In short – welcome to one of the secret sleepers of the doom genre in 2011. Recommended.

Get a listen to this album in its entirety (and maybe buy the damn thing) at their official bandcamp page: Batillus bandcamp


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