I have been following the work of Eibon La Furies pretty much since they were conceived on a dark eldritch night back in Lincolnshire in 2005. They are one of those bands with a profound English eccentricity about them musically telling stories that are part of our dark past with a sense of the fantastical about them. When they started out, this occult Victoriana themed cavalcade of the baroque stood out as doing something rather different. Thematically I guess you could say that the Furies dwelt within an almost steampunk narrative and as their first demo proved something wicked did this way come. First album proper ‘The Blood Of The Realm’ arrived via Code 666 back in 2010 and took us on a journey through the lamp lit cobbled streets of old London town where the devil was not just an Englishman but perhaps even closely guarded royalty, guilty of nefarious acts but protected from their crimes by an unwritten charter.
So what tales would this new album tell and how would it present them? That was the question as I sat down to listen to this the first time thinking the album title itself alludes to mystery. Mind you I considered that an Immoral Compass could be a very useful instrument if one was lost in the middle of nowhere. “Right, safe and sorted this is true North, should be back in the nearest town in a few miles. Well blimey who on earth would have thought about putting a brothel here of all places.” Anyway before things get any sillier it’s probably best to press play again.
After the compass is opened and awoken courtesy of an instrumental the ‘Immoral Compass To The World’ causes a certain amount of havoc courtesy of Lord Eibon’s grimly fiendish and theatrical spoken words, evil blackened growls and a cracking infectious dark melody. Guitars slither ominously and one can almost feel fog chilling the bones as the musical necromancy spreads. The mix has everything perfectly balanced here and all instruments and vocals are clearly defined without being multi-layered. It sounds very natural and helps give a clear idea of what the band are like live, from the couple of times I have managed to catch them. Some backing choral parts are occasionally utilised but are not over emphasised something I feel a lot of bands can be guilty of. Songs are not one-dimensional either there are parts here that are avant-garde black metal, gothic, traditional metal and even progressive rock. Guitar play keeps you on your toes and the vocals take on many personalities as things proceed.
I have not got my head around the narrative itself but keep thinking from what I hear said and some of the intriguing song-titles that we are being taken backwards in time by some sort of alchemy and time travel and this would no doubt make a good read perhaps in the style of a very dark Robert Rankin or even a particularly good televisual feast. ‘Flames 1918’ puts us very much in the time of The Great War though and is a dark and rich gothic ballad of a song with the clean vocals reminding a fair bit of Carl McCoy. ‘Who Watches The Watchers’ is not only a very good question but it’s one that makes for some great snappy vocal lines. If I had to choose a favourite number it would be spell casting chant of ‘Conjure Me’ it is one of the most darkly delicious numbers I have heard in a while and with the oft repeated chorus line of “North and south, east and west, I summon thee’ it really gets in your head. Particularly gravid and vile vocals infest ‘The End Of Everything’ and musical chops swagger around as though impending destruction cannot be thwarted (evil laugh). However like any good conclusion final part ‘The Compass Remains’ and the balance of greatness is saved… for the time being.
This is an album that’s a bit different in every sense of the word. It does not scream out the word ‘concept’ at me but the narrative is without a doubt worth following as much as the music itself. Both sides are intriguing and well accomplished and hopefully some of the songs will be seen dished up on a stage sometime soon. I know the band have a gig lined in London at The Bridgehouse (15th Sept) but have heard the place is a right salubrious venue and a mare to find. Perhaps an immoral compass might be necessary to get there.
(8/10 Pete Woods)