Formed in 1997, Wroclaw’s Dark Fury is one of the longest-running and most infamous bands in the Polish black metal scene. Their ninth album, This Story Happened Before, sees the group shifting their contempt away from the traditional targets of Judaism and Christianity in favor of an all-out black metal assault on Islam.
In spite of this change in lyrical focus, Dark Fury’s music remains largely unaffected; the band is still cranking out the same slow to mid-paced second wave style black metal they made their name on over the years. For some bands, this willful refusal to evolve would be a detriment, but Dark Fury are so proficient that there is simply no reason for them to alter course. Their music is equal parts angry and atmospheric, and in spite of the album’s brisk thirty-three minute run-time, Dark Fury manages to create an impressively immersive listening experience.
From a production standpoint, This Story Happened Before is nearly perfect, a mix of rawness and clarity that emphasizes Dark Fury’s songwriting prowess. The growled / croaked vocals sit back in the mix instead of dominating it, allowing the guitar-work to lead the charge into blackened battle. As expected, the bass guitar is largely inaudible, but the album proves to be plenty heavy when played at high volume thanks to the aforementioned emphasis on the guitars, which display a dark, full-bodied tone throughout. The un-flashy drumming effortlessly pushes each of the songs forward, serving as a foundation for the band’s methodical riff-craft.
This Story Happened Before is an exemplary no-frills black metal album; Dark Fury both honors genre tradition and brings some of their own flair to the music in order to create something that feels at once familiar and unique. Given the album’s high degree of quality on all fronts, one can’t help but speculate as to how far Dark Fury could go if they didn’t harbor such extreme socio-political beliefs. Fans of second wave black metal at its undiluted purest would do well to investigate this release.