REVIEW: Gorazde — The Fury of Lullabies (LP)
Audaciously rumbling into focus with bone-crushing sonic strength, it’s a little difficult to tell if it’s the instruments or the swell of their distortion guiding our way into “Last Movement,” the first track in The Fury of Lullabies by Gorazde. Intricate beats and a drowning bassline almost overwhelm the lead vocal and make its demonically melodic bellowing obstructed, but somehow, the verses become embedded in the music and we’re made to absorb their sentiments — one way or another. The tempo will pick up tremendously as we slip into the surreal clutches of “Dead Hand Path” and its stony cousin “Kiss the Murderous Beak,” but the percussion will never dictate where the groove is going in The Fury of Lullabies. In this aural vortex, there simply is no telling what we’re about to encounter next.
“Until the Stars Bleed” introduces a headier dose of psychedelia into the pot, and were it not situated beside the dominant rocker “Incubavit,” it might have been the antagonistic anchor of this LP’s first act. “Incubavit” is the only song here that has the makings of a radio-ready piece, but it doesn’t stray from the anti-commercial noise of its parent album’s theme too much; after all, with guitars as big as this song has, it’s easy to distinguish its physical make-up from what you’d hear in most alternative rock in 2021. “Diadem” has a startlingly plush industrial side that feeds into the drone of “Orison” beautifully, and as we get closer to the second half of The Fury of Lullabies, the conceptual elements of the record become harder for us to ignore.
A lyrically self-conscious “Beholden” feels like the Joy Division basement track I never knew I needed in my summer playlist this year, but even at its most shamelessly retro, it doesn’t feature Gorazde selling out their trademark deathrock angst for a more predictably emo style of poetry. The ambient “Distant Spirits,” instrumental “Enucleate the Third Eye,” and passive doom track “Luminaries” prove that modern goth aesthetics don’t have to be emotionally toxic to produce a passionate narrative within a tracklist, and this band’s competition would be smart to try and follow a similar formula when embarking on their own journeys into the darkness of true post-millennium punk.
“Summer Bliss, Feature Mist” sparks up a little more tension in the air before turning us over to the raw kindling of the abrasive but not completely washed-out “Postulant,” one of the most sonically endearing works included in this LP. The Fury of Lullabies meets its conclusion with the anthological “Projections,” which essentially summarizes the leitmotif of the LP as a whole while teasing a harsher industrial tone that I’d love to hear Gorazde revisit in their fourth studio album. From top to bottom, The Fury of Lullabies is a record that demands a reaction out of listeners through so much more than its innately dark observations of good and evil, life and death, and even God and humankind; it’s a post-punk masterpiece, and defiant of the trends that have more or less minimized the reach of the genre in recent years.