It is fair to say that The Immoral Compass, the new and second album from UK dark metallers Eibon La Furies is not going to be for everyone and will possibly draw as many unfavourable responses as acclaimed ones. It is extreme metal in its most provocative though maybe not for the reasons you would suspect. Bringing black and avant-garde metal into a devious league with dark symphonic rock, the quartet and their album challenge emotions, rising up against thoughts and expectations to deliver an unforgettable encounter, though not always memorable for all the right things. At times the release pushes one’s limits over the edge with an almost deliberately obtuse proposition but all the time there is a toxicity which lures in the senses and brews an intrigue that is hard to ignore.
Formed as a solo project by vocalist/guitarist Paul D Sims under the guise Lord Eibon Blackwood in 2006 and with the intent to create industrialised black metal and dark ambient music inspired by Victorian occult spirituality, Eibon la Furies released the demo EPs Something Wicked This Way Comes and Yours Truly…From Hell. The project next expanded to a trio with the addition of drummer Jamie Batt (as Battalion) and bassist Matt Cook (The Furious Host). Following an appearance at Bloodstock Open Air Festival in 2009 as the best unsigned progressive band, the threesome signed to Code666 who released their debut album The Blood of the Realm the following year. To help push their boundaries and creative ideas the band recruited lead guitarist Neil Purdy last year and set about writing their second album. The Immoral Compass is the result, a release which does have its ups and downs but is fuelled by riveting imagination and undeniable musical craft.
Inspired by the shadows in humanity the album is a melodramatic narrative lyrically and musically, its large melodic fires and sinew driven rhythms helping to sculpt songs which twist and turn on a whim and continually enthral like a sonic magnet. There are less successful times where you wonder what went wrong, but you never want to leave as when the album is on full song it is a dramatic rewarding beauty.
The opening instrumental intro The Compass Awakes is an evocative piece which paints an emerging dual sense of wonder and uncertain menace, the guitars and keys overpowering thoughts into creating their own dramatic revelation. The piece passes into the following Immoral Compass to the World, a track which takes an instant to cloak the ear in intensive guitar strikes and atmospheric keys from Sims whose vocals stand astride the emerging aural palette of suggestion with a gruff growl of a delivery. As the keys swoon and soar before the senses the track plays like a mix between Cradle Of Filth and The New Jacobin Club, but a paler version of what you would imagine their union to produce to be honest. Despite that the song is still a strong enough temptation to delve deeper into the album which repays with a mixed but persistently satisfying bag of adventure.
The opening song does instil one requirement when taking on the album, the need to engage in its confrontation numerous times before making a decision. There is so much going on in each track that you have to make many visits to dredge their depths and imagination, most emerging better and stronger the more you explore them as with second track Astronomy in Absences. From a celestial flight the song flexes its muscular riffs and even more ruthless rhythms, a thrash coaxed blackened tempest consuming the ear whilst the guitar of Purdy lights its skies with some stirring sonic flames and enterprise. The track does not exactly get the pulse racing but again there is plenty to investigate and devour for an increasingly greater flavour the more you immerse in its progressive temptation. Imperial Jackal’s Head is the same though the song is the first more notable moment within the album. An initial almost like Rammstein call especially vocally, prowls along the galloping sonic blaze which cores the entrance of the song. A slip into a venom bred vocal tale puts a rein on things before expanding its evocative heat of melodic and sonic commentary. Musically the track boils impressively with hooks, grooves, and melodies all lingering treats but overall vocally the song does little to match the sounds, though at times they do work rather well.
The merger of beautiful potent classically shaped keys and again less satisfactory vocals marks Flames 1918 (A Song for the Silence) to give more doubts room to think but suddenly from this point the album seems rise many levels starting with An Enigma in Space and Time. Bordering hostility throughout whilst simultaneously being just compelling the track twists and turns through a maelstrom of textures, styles, and pace with a hunger and energy that intimidates and seduces contagiously. It crawls along the lips of rock opera it has to be said but with further impressive guitar work, rapacious bass lines, and flames of imagination the song is a pinnacle soon matched by both Who Watches the Watchers? and Conjure Me. The first swarms over the senses with a choir of glorious voices veined by dark hearted riffs and forceful rhythms before the serpentine grizzled tones of Sims add a delicious alien presence. It is a tremendous track, with only the flat sound of the drums something to moan about. Its successor dangerously beckons the ear with female siren calls whilst riffs and grooves swarm like hornets in her charm. With familiarity to the predacious song which escapes definition it eagerly romps with a bedlamic breath and presence.
The sultry yet threatening voice of Ascending Through Darkness offers up another powerful encounter whilst the ballad The Vanguard with its spoken narrative and absorbing guitar elegance, just gets better with each listen, especially the folky march of rhythms and song towards its end. Final track The End of Everything… (Or the Beginning of it all) provides a closing wall of inventive and enthralling instrumental storytelling leaving thoughts and emotions wanting more of certainly the second half of the album.
The Immoral Compass is a very decent album that has to have time and patience to prove its case which for the main it does with strength and craft. Eibon La Furies may not have given us a classic release or one which you can take to immediately, but it is definitely an album given time which makes a companion you get the urge to return to.
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright
Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from