When ploughing through the mass of Dream Theater and Porcupine Tree clones that I am called upon to listen to and review I always look for something that little bit different, that bit special. Unique even. The prog metal and alt/prog sub genres have been overrun somewhat by well meaning but ultimately bland and homogenised soundalikes.
Not Furyu though. In fact what with this album, and the Loreweaver one, my faith in the ability of bands to still come up with something good, something refreshing is unabated, despite the best efforts of the pastiche prog brigade. Might be that both the aforementioned bands are Italian. I don't know, but if this is the fourth wave of prog, Italian style, then bring it on. England, the USA, Sweden and Poland have all had their moments, and their torchbearers.
Dating back to 2000, Bologna band Furyu comprises: Zappoli Michele (bass), Matteo Migliori (guitar / vocals), Giulio Capitelli and Federico Melandri (guitars), Riccardo Grechi (drums) and Damiano Storelli (effects/samples). Yes, they have a twin guitar attack. And it sounds fabulous. They can do fantastic acoustic stuff too (see the last track for a great example) but the riffage is sublime, and the rest of the band are wonderfully tight, and all in all this record is a little gem.
The USP of Furyu for me is not only the twin guitars, but the wonderfully emotive vocals, in Italian. Operatic in places, plaintive in others, this just sets the band apart from a lot of the bland rubbish I have to listen to. There's an ebb and flow, a rhythm, a beauty even to the lyrics in their natural Italian that just doesn't translate to English. It might put a few people off, but I thought it was fantastic.
Too much prog metal lays heavy emphasis on the metal part of the couplet, and ends up sounding turgid and tedious but not this – every track is different, layered, with time and tempo changes aplenty. It's incredibly well produced, passionate music that shape shifts and melds prog/metal, tech metal, jazz and even fusion.
I'm on my seventh listen now, on a range of kit, and I get shades of Rush, DT, Symphony X, Maiden, and the Blue Oyster Cult live sound circa Some Enchanted Evening as well as the Imaginos guitar orchestra. Top stuff. It's not a long record by any means, but it's a worthy addition to the genre.
Oh, and if you were wondering:
The term "FURYU", which in modern Japanese means "elegant", was used in the poems of the late Heian period (Japan, 795-1185) to represent an aristocratic and nostalgic vision of life; it literally means "flowing wind and water".
1: Illusione Dei Miei Giorni 6:13
2: ..E Poi La Luce 8:43
3: Un Momento: Vado A Fuoco 4:10
4: Finalmente Io Sono 5:36
5: La Vastità Del Mio Tempo/Cị Che L'Anima Non Dice 6:57