First this: ashes to ashes, dust to dust! No politics, just Mu-sick!
…and I am talking about really impressive, influential Music. I have never hidden my adoration for Dark Fury’s Black Metal. The fact that their lyrics, convictions and beliefs have a specific ethic / political / societal / conceptual content indeed does enlighten the fire of right or wrong, but never forget that Black Metal an sich goes well with aspects of intolerance, disgust, misanthropy, fanaticism and, well, that whole f*cking left-or-right-winged ideology which you believe in, or not. Personally, I am a sweet-hearted humanoid being, and as the smooth, intelligent and attractive reviewer behind Concreteweb, I try to focus on the sonic content in the first place. And whatever my personal institutional or religious or aesthetical or -whatever- viewpoints might be (I do not have to agree with all of your opinions, do I???), I am now going to focus on …And We Shall Never Surrender, a compilation album by Poland’s battalion Dark Fury, the main outfit by K. aka Raborym.
This compilation consists of twelve hymns taken from several EP’s, spanning quite an impressive era, and intolerantly following Semper Fidelis, a compilation that did focus on an earlier period. When you notice that this act is active for more than two and a half decades, that’s not that crazy, of course. Taken from five different earlier releases, …And We Shall Never Surrender has become an impressive overview of this project’s history (and evolution). It has been released via band leader Krzysztof’s label Lower Silesian Stronghold, in partnership with two same-minded labels, i.e. Doomsday Elite from the U.S. and the young Polish collective Eastern Blood. The album got released on digipack compact-disc in a three-folded edition (or ‘six-panel’ for the purists), coming with stunning black-and-white (cover) artwork. No lyrics, no manifests, no manipulations; just a fabulous visual artistry to accompany the aural excellence.
The first three tracks are taken from an EP from 2009, After The Battle. To be honest, I did not know / nor have / this one yet, so imagine my arousal and excitement. These epics stand for a melodious form of Timeless Black Metal, monumentally coming up with that Pagan-like execution that also characterizes the Scandinavian and East-European scene from the Nineties. The stuff is guitar-oriented in essence, with a fine wall of six-string harmonies in the first place. Yet one cannot experience this in its totality without recognizing the superb support of the rhythm and bass guitars (which are quite cool) and the professionally executed drums and percussions. Both slow and fast parts work organically together, offering a permanent interchange in tempo and structure. On top of it, the rough vocals add that supreme level of immortality and victory.
Next are the four compositions of 2014’s Carnivore, an EP that actually is like some reworked reinterpretation of the same-named demo from 2004. I had this one reviewed before (indeed, this story happened before [got it?]), yet with pleasure I’d like to write down my thoughts on this specific one once more. Here too, Dark Fury presents a monumental work of Nordic-styled melodicism and combative strength, with both fast-paced and slower passages. No matter whether a piece is up-tempo, then again more doomed in performance, it does maintain that pugnacious touch of martial pride with a well-balanced craftsmanship and an old-styled heathen spirit.
In early 2016, Dark Fury had a live-gig with Martial, an act that moved over from the Silesian battlefields to the Northern parts of the U.S. This material was played – and therefor recorded – in Chicago, and the stuff from both bands was released as This Story Will Happen Again! Both tracks (amongst which the great anthemic Werewolf) from Dark Fury are played with conviction and bravery, yet I feel obliged, as an honest reviewer, that I do have to mention the inferior sound-quality of this live registration. But getting rid of that sound quality, the actual performance itself is top-notch for sure.
Next are the two tracks that were released on the 2017’s split with Finland’s finest Goatmoon (another vinyl-release I do not have in my possession yet, so once again a pleasure for my ears and spirit). Well, evidently it continues the characteristic-stylistic approach of Dark Fury by combining an intolerant and militant intensity with epic melodies and that subtle touch of heroic-archaic elegance, which would make their (our) ancestors proud. Thunderous passages and pushing rhythms go well with the abundant yet harmonious textures, resulting in a fine-tuned equilibrium.
…And We Shall Never Surrender ends with Anthem Of Upcoming War, a devastating, thunderous beast that appeared on Thuringian Pagan Madmen, a split with country-fellowmen Absurd, Germany’s Bard Dûr and Goatmoon (from the Land of a Thousand Lakes). It’s somewhat harsher and more roaring in nature, I think, yet still breathing that dark-furious spirit that defines this project’s raison d’être.
From aural point of view, Dark Fury have always composed and performed structurally well-balanced sounds-from-the-dark-side, and this over a span of two and a half decade in the meantime. On top of it, the importance of the sound-quality (at least when it comes to material recorded in the studio) has permanently been of significance, with an equally divided for four- and six-strings, drums and percussions, and voices. It’s quite evident that this works on their full-lengths, yet as this compilation proves, this attention for a necessary well-considered mix has ever been the case for mini-releases ‘in between’ the full ones.