Fughu – 2013 – “Human: The Tales”
The Argentinian band FUGHU is among the veterans of the progressive metal scene in Argentina, with a band history going back to 1998. It took the band a good few years to start recording material however, as their debut album “Absence” didn’t appear until 2009. Four years later Fughu returns with an ambitious project: two full length albums that were simultaneously released, named “Human: The Tales” and “Human: The Facts” respectively.
The first of the two Human CDs comes across as a compelling and often intriguing creation. In terms of style and general approach I guess you might want to place this band inside the Dream Theater school of progressive metal, and especially the opening part of this disc documents a certain relation there fairly well indeed.
Fughu quickly moves away from quite a few stylistic core elements of that sound mind you, first and foremost by creating compositions where the greater majority of the contents really isn’t metal at all, but with room for some crunchy or compact riffs here and there that reminds the listener that they are still listening to a metal band.
Those sudden transitions from fairly calm passages to harder edged and energetic ones obviously function very well as a dramatic effect too, I might add..
Opening track The Human Way is one of two truly standout tracks on this disc, from a careful opening this creation explodes into an array of grimy riff cascades and majestic arrangements aplenty, complete with dissonant qualities to the instrumental section, operatic-tinged finely controlled lead vocals and the occasional left turn into calmer musical waters for a breather.
A magnificent beast of a song. The following Inertia continues in a manner that begs for accolades, this one focused more around calmer sequences, with a magnificent chorus section that is orchestral, textured and guitar driven, and later sequences where eerie keyboard effects are given room to further flavor the mood of this song with enticing details.
As the rest of this CD unfolds I’m never taken quite as high on my audio pleasure scale as on those initial two compositions, but at times fairly close. The sick opening bass motif on Twisted Mind, the eerie sounds in the opening passages of Goodbyeand the whispered voice and haunting didgeridoo that opened Mayhem are all mesmerizing details that lead on to songs that to a greater or lesser extent were hypnotizing initially, but where the structural development or main arrangements at some point lost the enticing details that invite my mind to search for synonyms to words such as perfect and brilliant.
All of them are strong compositions mind you, with plenty of flair in the calmer, ballad oriented movements as well as when the metal cascades are invited in, but not to the same extent as on the two great tracks that kicked off this disc so enticingly.
With “Human: The Tales” Fughu has created an enticing blend of accessible yet quirky progressive metal that roughly speaking can be placed inside the Dream Theater school, as far as progressive metal goes, but with a stronger emphasis on calm and ballad oriented sections alternating with darker, harder edged sections that feature guitar riffs and keyboards in more or less majestic combinations, depending on the overall mood and atmosphere needed. An album easy to recommend to fans of accessible but sophisticated progressive metal of the Dream Theater variety.
Fughu – 2013 – “Human: The Facts”
While the first part of this two-part album series at least to a certain degree could be described as a progressive metal oriented production as far as style is concerned, “Human: The Facts” is a much different construction altogether.
One notable exception aside this disc has stronger ties with neo progressive rock, where atmospheric, harmony based keyboard arrangements are given much room to shine, while the guitars are more dampened in expression and without venturing out on too many riff dominated runs. Still we’re not talking about music comparable to the likes of Marillion or Pendragon here either, as Fughu explores rather different paths than bands of that kind.
Atmospheric, dark and haunting soundscapes are the overall summary of this disc, where electronics and bass driven and flavored arrangements come and go, featuring eerie, haunting sounds of a careful as well as dramatic nature, symphonic inspired textures merely one of many effects utilized to craft finely disturbing moods throughout.
Spoken words and emotional vocals are used to good and dramatic effect, Vater a case that documents that aspect rather well, and even the light toned, gentle piano ballad The Play contains a raw nerve I rarely encounter on compositions of that particular kind. The album as such is a mesmerizing trip through atmospheric laden and oriented landscapes that are fairly bleak in nature, vital and mesmerizing in a nightmare inspired sort of manner.
A piece like Till the Days I Die is not a song about anything romantic, to put it that way. And at the very end, we’re treated to The Facts, in this case a creation that opens in an atmospheric manner, and then shifts to a dark, grimy and haunting progressive metal run that transports us all guns blazing into a suitably grim conclusion. A composition that should find favor amongst just about anyone who loves the combination of dark toned grimy guitar riffs and eerie, sickly keyboard textures.
Rich in mood and atmospheres, especially of the darker and more haunting varieties, “Human: The Facts” revolves less around progressive metal and more around arrangements closer to neo progressive rock than its companion release “Human: The Tales”.
A darker musical journey through and through, but with a suitably ominous progressive metal oriented number to conclude the album, this is a very nice and markedly different chapter to the dual part Human production Fughu has been working on for a few years.
As this is the second of two CDs released as individual entities I suggest that buying both of them is the thing to do. As far as recommendations beyond that go, I’d think that fans of neo progressive rock might be more of a core audience for this album, especially those among them with a taste for dark music, who don’t mind the occasional metal bites.