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Fury and Grace: A Dream-Letter to the Witches of Western Europe

Fury and Grace has been going at it for 17 years, but this album represents a fresh new direction. The music is heavier and slightly more ambitious. The band members describe themselves as regressive progressive metal, a contradictory label that suggests something of this band's ambitions. The point, as I understand it, is to press against easy notions of what's real and what's true. The music here should be considered an entrée into creative and bizarre spaces, some of which are heavy, some intense, and some weird. The band's musical themes bring to mind work by authors such as Edgar Allan Poe, H. P. Lovecraft, Ramsey Campbell, and the like. Campbell is mentioned specifically in the subtitle to "Dark Companions." I admire the band's interest in horror and the weird. I was especially fascinated by the title because it brings to mind Lovecraft's own interest in witch covens hidden throughout Europe. That idea, based largely on a work of scholarship arguing that there were hidden covens scattered throughout Europe even though witchcraft was driven underground by persecution and fear. As history, the idea was eventually discredited but it was influential in Lovecraft's day and captured his imagination. Many others (Robert Bloch, for example) picked up the fascination with hidden witches and let it drive their fiction into dark territory.

The music here is mostly progressive, heavy, and ambitious. Most of the tracks are long, probably too long, and the overall result is uneven. Even though the band's creative ambitious exceeded their execution, there are plenty of strong performances on this album.

Track Listing:
1. Grand Guignol (It Takes Tragic Hearts to Believe in Tragic Monsters)
2. The Ossuary
3. Night of the Mandibles
4. Ultima Weapon
5. A Dream-Letter to the Witches of Western Europe
6. Dark Companions (to Ramsey Campbell)
7. Nuove Fontiere del Delitto
8. Gloira in Excelsis Baphometo
9. The Effects of Blackness Moderated
10. The Secrecy of Small Creatures with Six Legs

Added: January 28th 2017
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 1711
Language: english

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