Review Summary: FALLEN, playing soon, at a graveyeard near you!
Majestic funeral doom beauty, hailing from Norway.
After a long time of silence I’ve decided to pick up the pen, or more accurately, the keyboard and started writing another review. I had some trouble deciding which album, or which genre it was going to be. Most R&M forum users will know of my incredible love for funeral doom.
A love not shared by many. I can understand the scepticism(Skepticism ;)) people hold for the genre. It’s not easy to get in to. With songs spanning over huge lengths. Production values that are on par with black metal, and song writing that doesn’t allow funeral doom to be known outside the confinements of the bedroom of the maker.
But let’s not generalize any further.
Fallen, hailing from Drammen in Norway have taken a rather unique take on the scene.
Thus far they have released only one CD.
Stories about a follow-up album have been told so numerously that it’s difficult to separate fact from fiction. But even if they would never release a follow-up, I wouldn’t be disappointed, because this album rocks.
Fallen on this CD is:
Kjetil Ottersen - Vocal/Synth/Piano.
Anders Eek - Drums and Compositions.
Christian Loos – Guitar.
The album contains 6 songs and with a total playing time of 57 minutes, you know you’re in for a long ride. Especially if you take in consideration that 2 out of the 6 songs are short piano based movements.
The song structures are highly influenced by classical music. You can notice this in the synthesizer and piano parts. They play a big part in creating the sound of the album.
The guitars play monstrous riffs that form the backbone of the release. But the keyboard works really give the finishing mourning touch. Lush string arrangements, sad piano and floating flutes really give this album something extra. While a lot of funeral doom bands try to sound huge and brutal, Fallen walks another path. I’m not saying this is light, easy-listening music, but it’s lighter and easier to get in to. Despite this all they still manage to create what funeral doom is all about. A feeling of utter depression, loss, hopelessness and deep existentialist consideration. The lyrics carry this feel just as much as the compositions itself:
‘The soft refugee of sleep in which I seek shelter.
When life shines too brightly and rears its mammoth head.
It scapes me this night of all.
Weary and wretched I could need the rest.
There are creatures waiting there.
Creatures like you that possess my mind ’.
Whilst cutting in dark and emphatic subjects, these lyrics do not fall prey to being sad, just because. The lyrics are presented in a delicate way, well thought out and taking advantage of nice wordplay and metaphors. And then there’s of course the set of vocal chords that were given the task of bringing these lyrics alive.
Here we face another unique aspect that might pull funeral doom haters across the line. No death metal styled growls on this release. But clean male vocals. They’re not sung in growling style, but that doesn’t mean they’re not low. Think Peter Steel of Type O Negative. This guy goes even a tad bit lower and presents the lyrics in an opera like style. The vocals sound honest and credible. Mourning hymns take you away.
In my mind they paint a picture of an abandoned graveyard in late summer.
Green and lush, heavy rainfall washing away all hope you had left.
The drums, played by Anders Eek are slow, doing exactly what they should; keep pace for the funeral march passing by during 57 minutes. Here we have another fine example of the vividness of real drums. No matter how slow the music is, it sounds better with real drums. This release really takes advantage of this, because the song writing needs to be complemented by well articulated beats, instead of a mindless flat ticking noise.
While drum computers work for some bands, Fallen is lucky enough to have real battery, stomping you down even deeper in to hopelessness.
To finish this of:
Fallen have created a more listener friendly version of funeral doom, combining elements of classical music with the dark, mysterious sound of funeral doom. They’ve succeeded in bringing this in a credible and well blended music experience, even though they’ve strayed from the beaten path.
They’ve chosen their own path, the path of the Fallen.
- Mature song writing, blending different sounds in to a coherent release.
- An unusual take on funeral doom that may appeal to people not familiar or not fond of the genre.
- Excellent vocals and keyboard performance.
- A long album, with the same overall feel, that might be a bit too much for people unfamiliar with the genre.
- Classical influences, not a fan? Then you’ll have trouble looking past it.
- Limited to 1000 copies only.