Review Summary: A thrilling, if occasionally bewildering, take on the possibilities of black metal when a little creative license is employed. When comparing its album art depicting Eastern European peasant life, to sole member Krignords musings about individualism on his Facebook page, Fulgurum is a project from which it is difficult to know what to expect on outside observation alone. As it happens, coming into Człowiekskrywazło with the anticipation of hearing a by-the-numbers atmospheric black metal album is a sentiment quickly dashed, by virtue of its first few seconds. "Słowiańskość Serca" transports the listener, at least initially, not to a Polish folk setting or Ukrainian riverside but to the American Wild West Ц plaintive guitar plucking and swells of ominous bass feel more Morricone than Drudkh. From here, a bouncing riff and rallying cry finds itself somewhere between Poland and Ibiza, by virtue of how energising it feels. The track settles itself down slightly (as far as this album can, anyway), yet the stage is set; Człowiekskrywazło is definitely a black metal album, but its approach is nothing if not fascinating. Fulgurums modus operandi plays on taking all-out black metal and then teasing it apart, injecting slightly odd ideas where he sees fit. "Głowa Skrywa Strach" opens up to a very typical, dense BM passage, yet Krignord chooses to break it up with two quivering stabs of near-silence, detailed only by a crying guitar note, tortured by an over-enthusiastic tremolo arm. An album highlight, "Po Drugiej Stronie Raju" is an excellent merger of Rains Upon the Impure-era Ruins of Beverast (by means of its slower pacing and choral focusing), gothic atmospheres and vicious, hammering riffs (all punctuated by Krignords excellent snarls and shrieks). Yet, as the track progresses more and more dissonant notes chime out from bells and strings; it is something both beautiful yet horrifying, reminiscent of an angels final song while having it is wings clipped. Even closing track "Pętla", which is a surprisingly affecting piece that thrives on its merging from acoustic prettiness to battery, feels as though the tried-and-tested quiet/loud relationship is being tested Ц the acoustic section isnТt as clean as it should be, and rather than fade out like all good closers should, it initiates one final assault at the listener, stabbing and snarling with all it has left. However, this unusual approach to songwriting does come with its shortfalls; it sometimes feels like Krignord is trying to fit too many ideas into one segment, which while laudable for his ambition, makes for an album that needs time to sit comfortably with the listener. The first three minutes of "Ten Co Tyłem Stał" are possibly the best example of this, as jubilant Polish folk songs turn Ц abruptly Ц into black metal so impetuous it can barely keep up with itself. An angular, lurching riff one would more associate with Peste Noire manifests itself shortly afterwards, slowing the pace back down again (somewhat akin to the feeling of nausea following a short yet energetic fairground ride) Ц only to reprise its blood-and-thunder blasting for a few seconds before its interlude. The result is a track that, during its first few listens at least, is overpowering in its approach, and despite successfully creating a manic atmosphere does warrant a little breathing space. Perhaps it is unsurprising, then, that some of CzłowiekskrywazłoТs more immediately satisfying moments rest on its less idiosyncratic leanings. "Zamarła Turnia" is arguably its most "normal" track, which despite the few aforementioned time-signature curveballs in its second half and introduction of bowed instruments stays largely true to the blueprint of riffy, mid-paced black metal (right down to the acoustic, atmospheric interlude halfway through). In fact, after its manic beginnings, "Ten Co Tyłem Stał" eventually settles down into more familiar blackened territory, accompanied by a surprisingly moving melody and whammy-bar friendly solos. During these moments, it is comforting to know that Fulgurum does not just rely on pushing the envelope to impress Ц comforting, partially, as it allows the listener to anchor themselves for a while onto something that they are (roughly) familiar with, instead of venturing into the unknown. The development of music, when viewed as a continuous process, does rely on the prodding and poking of previously set boundaries to thrive Ц yet, sometimes those boundaries are there because theyТve been proven to enjoyably work. Człowiekskrywazło, if anything, is a prime example of both the positive and negative facets of genre experimentation; when ideas gel, such as the percussion-heavy easing into "Słowiańskość Serca", the amount of fun to be had is exceptional. But, as aforementioned, a little creative restraint sometimes goes a long way. However, the positives here do vastly outweigh the negatives, and Człowiekskrywazło is a thrilling, if occasionally bewildering, take on the possibilities of black metal when a little creative license is employed.
This is third album of Fulgurum which is one-man band from Poland but possibly located in Germany at some point. I do not want to imagine how much effort and time has to be taken from individual to possess simple knowledge about the instruments he uses to express himself musically. Krignord is the only person behind the band who is making the music to satisfy his alter ego by playing black metal. And that is just basic to say because quite often his music and guitars in particular are more avant-garde and with many different tracks going at the same time. Some music ideas are absolutely absorbing but sometimes I have impression that some tracks are bit overdone. There is always a spirit of traditional black metal on this album but often spiced up by super original riffs, like its off the track from origins of black metal. It is just fine, compelling. The sound is harsh and chaotic with vocals that have shades of desperation and lamentations in Krignord voice. There are some short ambient influences, a touch of folk, Viking metal and atmospheric moments as well. Music is a bit theatrical and bizarre like mix of Lux Occulta and Arcturus. A feel to Norwegian black metal is present but Fulgurum is capable to twist it and turned the music to really weird sounding black metal the longer this album plays. I used to think that term black metal is an indication of easy going music but this album is not. It is not perfect in many ways but it is demanding, challenging to listen to and made by just one person who disturb his music as much as possible. I always let myself to approach albums that need to reach out beyond boundaries. And for that, my Hails to Fulgurum for doing what the others can not see in black metal.
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