Friday, January 3, 2014

Into Armageddon's Maw: An Interview & Exclusive Streaming Song from Fury 161

If you keep up with my blog as regularly as I do, you probably recall the streaming single "Purify" by Fury 161 which I shared a few months ago. As pre-orders for their impending full-length album, "Armageddons Maw," have gone live, I feel it's a good time to share a BM&B exclusive interview and streaming song. For those not yet familiar with this project, "Armageddons Maw" is a death industrial album that (depending on your standpoint) either takes the genre's typical sounds and pushes them outward in every direction, or it stands defiantly against the genre just as much as it embraces it. With synthesized melodies washing up against scathing electronic walls and frenzied vocals raging against the very things that society holds dear, this album is one hell of a ride. Whether you're interested in power electronics and death industrial, or if you're just a regular reader checking out a new feature, it's hard for me to recommend this album highly enough. I've had access to the files for a couple months now and I'm simply chomping at the bit waiting for the official release. Without wasting more of your time on my rambling, here is a brief transcript of my chat with the two madmen of Fury 161, followed by an exclusive stream of their track "Spirits" for your enjoyment.

Corvus Rex
Xerxees Bane

BM&B: Okay, welcome and thanks for your time. State your names and duties, if you will.

Corvus Rex: Corvus Rex. Vocals, Treatments, Guitars, Keys, Mixing and mastering.

Xerxees Bane: Xerxees Bane. Sounds, samples, beats, art.

BM&B: Okay gentlemen, since this is a review for a website specializing in music and beer, do you drink? If so, any preferred or recommended beverages?

CR: I drink very little, and sadly no beer. I drink liquor. I would recommend South African cider though. I always have some when I go home.

XB: I am not adverse to the odd drink now and again.My choice of poison is lager. No real lager I'd particularly recommend as there are many to choose from and their effects can be similarly varies. However, I was fond of peach schnapps many moons ago.

BM&B: That does the job just fine. So, how did the two of you first meet and decide to form a musical union in the form of Fury 161?

CR: Xerxees, you answer this one.

XB: Okay, here it goes. The modern miracle of the internet played its part in the formation of Fury 161. Corvus initially posted a Project:Void track on the webpage of a favourite artist (Theologian). I liked what Corvus had posted, and we initially became friends because of that. I was also doing music prior to Fury, under the name Pigrat. Pigrat was influenced by gabba, breakcore, and tribal beats. I sent some of those tracks to Corvus and he saw potential in them...

BM&B: And the rest is history?

XB: Sorta...I've taken some of the elements from Pigrat and mutated the ideas in Fury.

CR: I asked Xerxees to send me a breakdown of one of his tracks, which he did, and I treated, remixed, and remastered it.

XB: Yes, and it sounded suitably rusty, gnarled, crushing...

CR: That was the track that became the instrumental "Black Heart Attack." From there, we discussed joining up as a unit.

BM&B: That song is actually one of my favorites on the album. It stands out as a unique, yet appropriate centerpiece.

CR: It fuses many elements. It also brings a bit of light to the darkness

XB: Yeah, you could go the route of just crushing sounds. However, as Corvus said, a little bit of light makes the darkness that little bit darker.

BM&B: So as an official unit, is there a set songwriting process for Fury 161, or does each song come about in a different way?

CR: There are various ways they come about. Xerxees is always working on music, as am I. When the moment is right, we will then swap these sounds with each other and they will either be accepted by both of us or rejected.

XB: For my part, I don't have any real approach to writing the songs. I have found that if I have a pre-set idea, it never pans out as how I imagined it in my head. I will sift through sounds to find ones that I may find interesting and then will see what comes of them. Some songs are written in a few weeks, and some are years old. One, in fact, dates back to around 2007.

CR: If you think of it, a good song should be timeless.

XB: Agreed, and you know you've done a good song when you can listen to it for your own pleasure and you find nothing about it that you'd change.

BM&B: That makes perfect sense. Knowing that you are both musicians with musical endeavors prior to this, what music has inspired each of you as a whole? What specific music inspired this project?

CR: Each of my bands draws from different influences. Project:Void's harsh power electronics draw influences from sources such as Whitehouse, Sutcliffe Jugend, and Wolf Eyes. Black Crow King is an exploration of how deep doom can go, and draws inspiration from doom, goth, and power electronics. I'm also in a death industrial band called N.D.E.

XB: Personal influences? Napalm Death, Godflesh, Slab, Converter, Test Dept, Adam and the Ants, E-Noid, Rotator...

CR: I think with Fury we never really set out to create a particular sound, it just kinda developed.

XB: Yeah, evolution in progress.

CR: We never said "let's create a death industrial band." We just said "let's join up and see what happens," and brought our combined influences to it. The vocal approach I use has more akin with extreme metal or power electronics. I hope that somewhat explains it.

BM&B: Of course. With your rather unique sets of inspiration and approach in mind, do you feel there are any current artists with whom you share a common bond or a sort of musical kinship?

CR: There are a few bands that share some of the same elements with us, such as Deadwood or Steel Hook Prostheses or other death industrial bands, but we have not really made a bond. I think it is safe to say if the listener is into death industrial, power electronics, or extreme electronic music of any form, then they will hear something they like in Fury.

XB: Ramblack is good too. Hopefully we stand out because we use sounds that the listener may not "expect."

CR: In fact, you may have seen a recent update on our facebook page. We're planning a split with Steel Hook Prostheses.

BM&B: I did see it. I'm quite excited for more details. Musical inspiration aside, what other sources of inspiration do each of you draw upon when creating your music as Fury 161? Whether it's art, nature, politics, etc. Would you like to share what gets your creative juices flowing?

CR: This is very personal for me. Nature, or rather what we are doing to nature, is a huge problem for me, as are politics, mental issues, and my loathing for humanity at large. My music, lyrics, and vocals are a purge for me.

XB: For me, the techniques of John Heartfield play a big inspiration, ie. photomontage, and taking things from their original context and mutating them to our own ends. Film plays a part...a certain Alien film especially.

CR: Ha ha, can't forget Alien.

XB: Nope, and it's a David Fincher film.

Fury 161/Bugs Crawling Out of People

BM&B: So two very different sets of inspiration come together. I like that. Corvus, would you say that as the lyricist, you consider Fury 161 to be a project that is driven by its message, or simply a project that has a lot to say, with music first and message secondary?

CR: I would say it is a project that is driven by the music and has a lot to say as well. Xerxees is just as important as I am. On occasion he also comes up with lyrics. For example, the song "Purify" that was released as a free download had lyrics written by both of us.

XB: I find that when I occasionally attempt lyrics they are not quite my forte, so I leave it to he who does it well.

BM&B: So do you feel that even the moments without lyrics and vocals have their meaning for the dedicated listener?

CR: The opening track "Thanatos" is an instrumental, but it helps set the tone for what is to come.

BM&B: Similar to "Black Heart Attack" then, although each song stands on its own as well, not really needing the greater context.

CR: It flows as an album, but each song has its own story to tell or mood to create.

BM&B: I was actually going to ask about the flow of the album. For an album that works so smoothly, there's a lot of musical territory covered on "Armageddons Maw." How did you manage to compile such contrasting sounds without killing the album's continuity?

XB: Thanks, this is the first album I've ever worked on. It has cohesion, rather than being a set of disjointed pieces. When it comes to writing songs, I sometimes get contrasting sounds that jump into my head, taking a song elsewhere--which I like. For me, it has to be something I'd wanna hear. Dark, but not derivative. Light, but not in a happy, skippy way. The light enlightens the dark! Yin yang. Or Abraxas, if ye prefer.

CR: I think when we decided on songs, they were ones that we knew would work together. The next job was to decide the order. For this, I came up with a list of an order, then Xerxees and I decided on it together and laid the track listing for the album down.

BM&B: That was probably a lot harder than you're making it sound.

CR: No, not really. We have a strange connection when it comes to Fury 161. Nothing seems to be much of a struggly, everything flows. There are no egos in the band, which is a great help.

BM&B: You two do seem to get along quite well. I'm sure that makes things run smoothly.

CR: That it does.

XB: It does, and one day we'll actually meet!

CR: I hate egomaniacs. They are a menace to the world.

BM&B: Fair enough. How has it been working with Canadian label Bugs Crawling Out of People? They seem to have their ducks in a row, so to speak.

CR: It has been pretty easy to work with them. He is interested in the band and what we are doing. He's committed to putting out a quality product and everything is run past us first.

XB: I can't fault them at all. I was aware of them a year or so ago via the releases they had of compUterus and I think...was a release of Pneumatic Detach.

CR: For example, before going to print he sent us a printed mock-up of the digipak to see if we were happy with it.

XB: It was a great feeling to receive a mock-up that has artwork that I spent ages drawing by hand on an actual release.

BM&B: I'm glad to hear you've found a label that treats you with the respect you deserve. Revisiting your comment about actually meeting up, do you think you'll ever try to practice for Fury 161 to become a live act or would you rather keep your music in the studio?

CR: Fury 161 will never be a live act. I have too many issues with people.

XB: I think playing live, even if it was Corvus and myself, just to ourselves, couldbe interesting if not a little tricky. I'm unsure how to go about creating it live.

CR: It would be a bit of a problem creating it live.

Fury 161 shirt

BM&B: That makes sense. I think it holds up well enough as a studio project regardless. I have a question about the artwork related to Fury 161. Perhaps this is for Xerxees, although you are both free to answer. I noticed a lot of mirroring in the art for both "Purify" and "Armageddons Maw," as well as your shirt design. Is symmetry symbolic in a way or was this merely an aesthetic decision?

XB: I'm not sure that symmetry does play a conscious part in the art. Again, I will just try out different ideas and see what works or doesn't. However, there is meaning to the artwork. The double headed bird at the bottom of the lower point of the chaos star is meant, or could be suggested as being both Corvus and myself, in that we are musically not looking in exactly the same direction, but the two heads come together in the same body. Fury 161 is the body.

At the teeth, I thought that not only do people get angry, but animals also. Francis Bacon amde me aware of this with some of his screaming mouth paintings.

BM&B: Interesting, I had been wondering if the teeth were something of a nod to Swans.

CR: I love Swans

XB: Yes, I find there is something quite powerful about that image. First time I heard Swans, I couldn't get my head around them at all. It was a million miles away from what I was used to.

CR: Haha, all hail Swans. Brilliant live as well.

BM&B: I understand that. Many of their recordings are older than I am and are still heavier than anything new bands are doing. That's about it for the questions. Thank you guys so much for your time.

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