Krisiun is almost universally described as “consistent.” And for good reason: These Brazilian brothers have been cranking out variations on a death metal theme for a quarter century now. They don’t vary their attack much, and they don’t really make mistakes. They pummel with a crackling electric intensity, a snarling bite that’s lightly technical and perfectly brutal, furious and relentless and aggressive.
But for all their remarkable linearity, even within the limited dynamic range they’ve left themselves, there are still some hair’s-width shifts, some ups and downs.
2008’s strong Southern Storm was one of those ups, a step forward after a few solid-but-interchangeable releases in the half-new Bloodshed and its follow-up, AssassiNation. The formula didn’t change, of course – Krisiun doesn’t deviate, like I said – but the parts coalesced a bit better on Storm; the songs were stronger and that renewed strength pushed the performances just a smidgen further into the ferocious. That upswing continued through 2011’s aptly titled The Great Execution, which was more of the same of Storm’s quality, still on the top of the curve.
Unfortunately, Forged In Fury seems to be coming down the other side of the arc. It’s a step back towards Krisiun’s norm, which means that it’s not bad by any stretch but just a bit less good than the previous two. The first few tracks are strong, just Krisiun being Krisiun. From the triplet intro riffs of “Scars Of The Hatred” through the stuttering “Ways Of Barbarism,” Forged In Fury starts unstoppable, song-wise. But that’s just two tracks in. The following two are still good, but lesser, and the trend continues to dip. As the album’s midpoint comes, the edge is blunted off and Fury starts to feel like Krisiun-by-numbers – the dissonant chords of the title-ish track just sort of plod along, although the rest is solid, particularly the solo; “Burning The Heretic” rights the ship briefly, appropriately as a burner, but thereafter, it’s respectable but not as good as this band at their absolute best.
Aside from its uneven songwriting, a certain amount of my issues with Fury come from the production, which was handled by the usually dependable Erik Rutan. Forged In Fury is slightly thrashier than before, a bit less death metal heft and more death/thrash bite. Moyses Kolesne’s guitars still sound bludgeoning, his leads still great and his riffs still catchy and sharp, even in songs that don’t quite come together as much as others. But the bass suffers especially from the shift in sound, often given a pinging trebly tone reminiscent of Overkill’s DD Verni. Unfortunately, while that tone (somehow) works for Verni or Frank Bello, it doesn’t work here; in instances where the bass should hold up the bottom end, instead it boings along annoyingly on top. (For an example, check out that verse riff in “Dogma Of Submission.”) It’s not always that way, but when it is, it’s grating enough to ruin the moment.
Overall, Forged In Fury is still Krisiun, so the baseline is a bit higher than most, but it’s one of the least engaging albums in Krisiun’s extensive catalog. It’s respectable, mostly listenable, but compared to Southern Storm or Conquerors Of Armageddon, Fury is an inconsistent batch of tunes with some production deviations that don’t quite add up. When it’s all said and done, you could do worse, but Krisiun can do better.