21 Mar 2022 - Knut
Atmospheric Black Metal/Post Black Metal/ | Gilead Media | Release date: 25 Mar 2022
Almost two decades since their inception the restless souls of Falls of Rauros release another album that further widens their musical scope. Restless meant as a positive trait as they never seem to care about trends or genres, but use their composition and musical skills to counter expectations and release another genre-defying album filled with crushing beauty.
It is of course inspired by where they came from with their first outings as a duo in 2005 exploring folk inspired Black Metal. Now an established four-piece they dip their magic composing wand into more genres, Death Metal, Post Metal, Post Rock and probably some more and thus it is like they have become their own genre. In an absurd way some parts of the album reminds me of Peter Green´s ”Albatross” because of how the metal based guitars come together over the rhythm section to create a wind–shear soaring atmosphere in between the distorted guitars with lots of legato notes thrown in.
Throughout the album the bass becomes more prominent than on previous releases and lend a groovy feel to the tracks. On the second track, ”Desert of Heart” the bass rises up between the two distorted guitars and after a while takes over the sonics with the drums. The guitars linger in the background while the growling vocal drives the track forward. Soon the guitars are back and the sonics level up with a beautiful melody. It seems as if the music is soaring through an everlasting crescendo. The mid-section introduces keyboards with a flute adding to the beauty before a solo guitar takes over taking flight over the dark sonics. The drums change the pace to blast mode and two vocals are answering each other just like the guitars do throughout the whole album.
For each album they have honed their guitar work, and on this album it is remarkable how the guitars play with each other, against each other and around each other using counterpoint as the musical technique which they also developed on the previous albums. That makes for an energetic listen and this way to create the music starts on the first track ”Clarity” and it helps balance the track between post rock and blackened post metal.
The build-up on the third track, ”Survival Poem” is soaring over blast drums while guitars are holding the distorted soundscape and at the same time are swirling around it with solos before it shifts into Post Rock sonics in a new section reflecting the first one. Towards the end, the soundscape widens further, the drums are shifting and it is all held up by the bass while the guitars push out melodic longing solos.
The band is keeping it tight on the next track, ”Known World Narrows”, where the bass again is a prominent feature. The composition develops catching melodic themes. They once again show their skills in writing music; they know how to make the music breathe while they lift the heavy sonics to let in some air in. At the same time this might be the tightest track on the album as the guitars play high pitched in between the takes. Towards the end they tighten the grip, but let the synths and saturated guitars soar over the rumbling below.
The fifth track, ”Daggers in Floodlight” might be the fastest track, driven by a bass that sometimes is the only instrument joining the vocals. Further in, it is quite magical how the drums are blasting away like a Black Metal tune while the rest of the music is more in line with Post Metal. Even if the track is fast and tight, it also opens a window to let fresh air in when the guitars take over and slow down the pace making ready for a blistering guitar solo. Then they open up a wide soundscape to give a view of how versatile the band is, even within just one song as the track ends with a strumming guitar accompanying a high-pitched slow solo.
The album closes with ”Poverty Hymn” where the song starts galloping as all the instruments join the growling vocals sustained by synths. Soon a solo guitar begins working in the background and does so for the rest of this dense track. Even if it is dense, there is a lot of gleaming parts in the background to deliver some melodic elements and make for an exciting listening because you constantly discover new things in the layers with every listen. As this composition and all the others show, this is a band that might again be at the top of their game.
As I first mentioned, Falls of Rauros have once again widened their musical scope. It is like they have jumped out of the pond they resided in amidst Agalloch, Fen, Winterfylleth, Downfall of Nur, Saor to name a few and landed in another pond where they reside alone doing their own things while sometimes looking up and nodding to the former pond. Their new one is probably big and it will be interesting to see what they find there in the years to come.