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Falloch - Where Distant Spirits Remain CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

3.87 | 11 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'Where Distant Spirits Remain' - Falloch (7/10)

Much like Alcest, the pair of Scotsmen in Falloch are making a gateway to black metal. Much like marijuana and energy drinks can open up youngsters to drug addiction, and holding hands can lead to sex, the music that Falloch makes could very well lead some to the dark side. Although there are the blastbeats and tremolo picking that fans of the black metal genre might instantly cite as being indicative of their chosen genre, Falloch bring a much easier sound to bear. Although 'Where Distant Spirits Remain' might lack the pleasant challenge that much post-black metal aims to offer, Falloch have crafted a tasteful journey that provides a perfect opportunity for people who don't like the 'growls' in extreme metal to enjoy some of its beauty.

Back to the concept of being a 'gateway band', I remember a few years ago hearing an album called 'Blackwater Park' from a pack of obscure Swedes, and it changed my life. Before then, I had not been able to appreciate growls or 'screaming' as an enjoyable source of expression. However, it only took one experience and hearing the growls mixed with such coherent beauty to change my mind. I feel that this is much the same opportunity that Falloch offers on 'Where Distant Spirits Remain', although they are seeking to give people a step inside the world of black metal. Andy Marshall's vocals are almost entirely clean, with a real focus on melody that one rarely sees in this style. Besides that, Falloch falls firmly within the sort of post-black metal we have been seeing lots of in recent years. Alcest, Agalloch, or Primordial would all make for decent comparisons; although the clean vocals do earn them a small step apart from most black metal, the work as a whole does not feel all that different from what's been done before.

When I first heard 'Where Distant Spirits Remain' last year upon its release, I remember raising an eyebrow at the name and general aesthetic of the band, thinking them a shameless bandwaggoner on the success that Agalloch has recently achieved. On top of that, Marshall's vocals felt brittle and lacked the sort of power that would have sold me on the cleans- an issue I still have with the album. Although it may have taken me a year to get off the high horse and revisit it favourably, many of my gripes still exist to some extent. The music is a crisp take on atmospheric post-black metal, with the occasional Celtic instrument thrown in there to mixed results. Falloch's instrumentation treads the worn path, but the quality of the performance, and- above all- the melodies brings it to life. The epic climax to 'Where We Believe' captivates me each time with its cinematic flow and grandeur. The closer 'Solace' feels like a bit of an afterthought, but it makes for a beautiful piano piece, set to some fitting rain samples.

Although this last criticism is coming from a fairly seasoned black metal listener, Falloch's music is perhaps less interesting than it should be, if only because it implores nothing of the listener. There is no challenge in this string of pleasant-sounding ideas. From start to finish, Falloch create a convincing mesh of post rock and melodic black metal that's downright beautiful when the mood is right. It's not among the top tier of recent black metal output, but for someone who has always wanted to experience the vast atmosphere and emotional power of black metal without caring too much for the vocals, this album is a dream come true.

Conor Fynes | 4/5 |


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