Scotland's Falloch formed in 2010, project of Andy Marshall, the man behind black-metal band Askival, which was put on hold a few years previously to Falloch's inception. Not beating around the bush, Falloch promptly got signed, and now, only the year after the bands formation, they offer up a debut full-length album.
It's difficult to know exactly what to make of bands which appear so suddenly, but from the onset, it's apparent that Falloch are making some reasonable post-black metal, assuming that's what it is - I struggle sometimes to fathom the complexity of subgenres of black-metal, especially when the prefixes are arriving en-masse. The sound is awesome, in the old sense of the word. It's vast, thrilling, and mind blowing, infused with beautiful melancholy but also huge energy. Many of the songs have a seriously nicely-executed Celtic twist, with a lot of (presumably synthesised) folk instruments, which only adds to the albums vast soundscape, without being even remotely cheesy or any other characteristic of that persuasion - The folk instrumentation, and the keyboard work in general, is done in deadly seriousness, and undoubtedly hits the mark when it comes to epicness and mood, in a way that I recognise from bands like Wodensthrone, who also execute keyboards flawlessly, achieving absolute musical beauty.
Falloch are very restrained when it comes to deploying the black-metal side of their sound, with most of their songs being quite peaceful, with very, very few harsh vocals, scattered here and there, and, although the guitars get quite intense at times, there isn't much of the abrasive edge bestowed upon conventional black metal. The plus side of this is that the album possesses some major musical beauty, while still retaining the vast, heavily forested feel of epic black metal, which evokes sorrow and wonder in equal measure, and also gives the listener time to think, not overwhelmed by heaviness, but not lulled by soft-music to the point of being unable to find the music absorbing. The album is very strong as a whole, and packs a lot elements into the music, especially considering that the album is a debut, and is also very different from the previous work of the bands creator.
I'm pretty certain that Falloch are a band to watch, as they've certainly sprang up within a few years, and are already making a lot of progress, and are being noticed. If this continues, the post-black metal scene might have something even more remarkable on it's hands. All I can say is keep up the good work.
I'm going to give "Where Distant Spirits Remain" 9/10.
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