How noisy can Doom be before it becomes Avantgarde-Noise? Farer gives an answer without trying to please anybody. Hold off your finalized AOTY-lists!
Doom is one of those genres that can basically be everything because nowadays it is more than doom in the Type-O or Candlemass-kind of sense, it is also used as a description for a certain attitude and a certain range of music somewhere between Domkraft and Sunn O))), Anna von Hauswolff’s BADA and Wino. But to describe it simply as a state of mind is also not enough, because, unlike punk, doom cannot be an attitude.
This is also noticeable when listening to Dutch doom/noise mashers Farer who have just released their full-length debut Monad at the end of November. But the band members are definitely no newcomers, as they have been playing under the name Menhir since 2013 and include members of Ortega. Last year they chose Farer as their new name and with that also came a change of style and sound. While Ortega gravitates much more towards post-metal, Farer is a bastard of doom and avantgarde noise.
Their 4 track, 52-minute debut is a bastard of various parents – Sumac, Boris, The Body and Briqueville. Seems like a strange combination? Well, maybe, but Farer also play strange music. First off, they seemingly want to sound as if they are riding on the ways of a hurricane. There is always this sense of storm in their music, which is also a clear hint at their noise-aspirations. The distortion is set to echo over itself so that it keeps on reverberating in itself creating this kind of spiraling effect pulling the listener higher and higher. The latter effect is also supported by the fact that sometimes they use some smaller snippets in the background to even further strengthen their huge soundscape so that the air gets thicker and the oxygen gets less and less. Funny is the moment at the end of the opening track “Phanes” when you notice that part of those snippets was a clean-sung choral which was used in those part of the storm that are less upfront but still audible.
The band plays with some industrial sounds in “Asulon”, the second track, which gives that song a Godflesh-feel, even though that is maybe a very personal idea. Nevertheless, this is also the track which seems most like Briqueville. The clean vocals at the beginning of the track connects it very well to the end of “Phanes” as mentioned before. The meandering industrial reverbs in the background are laid over the ever-present dangerous basic soundscape that connects all tracks and that makes this album also a very coherent unity. In “Asulon” the guitars take over after 5.20 minutes and they turn this track even more into a standout song. Alas, one should not forget that the creation of a ‘standout track’ is probably not what Farer had in mind, they wanted to create a standout album and they really did. The noise guitars that are partially Sumac, partially Sonic Youth and yet always Farer are combined with wonderful little drums changes. Even when we have a guitar crescendo trying to move ahead of everything else it is still always held back by the other instruments so that we cannot but wonder how effective the band is.
They show us so much in the final two songs “Moros” and “Elpis” that it becomes clear why Menhir only published one EP in 2016 before the band changed their sound, their songwriting, their approach and developed new songs. The choice must have been a hard one, but when listening to the ‘horns’ (at least that’s what they sound like) in “Moros” one recognizes a band that chose not to choose between things but to be as borderless and free as possible. Everything works for the best of the record.
Monad is nothing more and nothing less than another reason why to hold back with your AOTY lists till December. This band is gonna go far if they publish more music in the vein of their debut with so many high-quality songs garnished with as much virtuous noise as these four tracks. And, as if it was the most simple thing in the world, they show what doom is in the year 2020. It is writing a record that doesn’t care about what doom is but that defines it for themselves.