Review Summary: Fall of Efrafa are a band of many faces and each is a beautiful one to look at.9 of 9 thought this review was well written
Fall of Efrafa’s final album, Inle
which completes the perceptive interpretations of Richard Adam’s novel Watership Down
is quite frankly the most difficult album I’ve ever tried reviewing. Upon first listen the effort comes across overwhelmingly dense and emits a rather plight atmosphere; clashing several genres and brain scattering ideas reflecting the theme of death. The concept here follows a society collapsing beneath itself under theocratic rule, and in the span of three albums the band has recreated the telling. The first of which Owsla
deals with the story of the Guardian, Elil
the uprising of the enemy, and lastly Inle
the death of the deity. The band often includes several quotes and language excerpts from the story itself to recreate the imagery and story being told, at most times its flawless.
Before even listening to Inle
I imagined the band voyaging into a more somber mood with dark undertones and little of the post-punk influence that was spread across Oswla
; but after listening and settling with the effort I was shocked to see the direction that was taken. Blending elements of post rock with the brash aspects of screamo and post metal the offering is littered with epic soundscapes that rise and rarely fall. Still, with the few genres I’ve mentioned I’ve already more than short handed the band. They incorporate several instances of grind, black metal, and even folk. Herein lies the dilemma facing the disc; how can one band meld together so many units into a cohesive seven songs around the shortest albeit most difficult concept from the narrative?
It’s usual to expect what comes out of the opener “Simulacrum’; you’ve got your typical post rock fiesta with solemn guitar and drum aspects. There’s even a nice recorded excerpt not too out of the realm for a Godspeed record, and as with such a tribute things begin to build. There’s such a brooding yet mellow vibe sweeping throughout the track, the guitars are strummed with requiem and the drums are more or less a reflective of a slowing heart beat. Fu Inle
begins as so with a funeral doom foundation and gives a depiction of one’s last words, but this is where things shift into the unexpected. Though gone are the bouncy riffs from “A Soul To Bare” heard on their previous effort, the mood is switched to a more uplifting note than had been lead on. As if rebuking the waning hours the song is picked up in pace, though only by half, and the crescendos lead their way. This is reaffirmed by “Republic of Heaven”, a second wind if you will – a joyful second wind (however joyful doom enthusiasts get). Fall of Efrafa noted atheists; seem poignant in showcasing that life does not end in death yet only the beginning. As contradictory as this may seem to their beliefs tell this to the feelings eschewed through the music.
With all the highs and seemingly absent lows one wouldn’t be erroneous in getting sick with the albums vapid motions. Though it would be curious as to why? This is in fact no daring roller coaster; however consider it similar to a junior carnival ride. One where you can see the entire journey from the starting position, the highs are clearly distinguished from the lows with only millimeters. Still the disparity and intended crass nature of the album present the obvious problem to the casual listener. The ostensibly forever interludes that thicken the ascension takes its toll, and after the fiftieth snare hit one can’t help but wonder when the ride will reach its peak. It’s these moments though, and others like it, that makes this album so mesmerizing. The illusive breakdown that eats up half of “Woundwort” feels so jarringly different from “Simulacrum” that subsequent listens to connect the dots throughout the album are a must.
I’m still surprised with the direction of the album, a release that could have gone either one of two ways; an emotionally gripping tale of grief, or a lavishing display of joy. The band essentially takes both routes blending the anguish of black metal with subtle dependencies on screamo presenting the grievances while the uplifting tones of post rock are executed to hollow out the pain. I guess this is what I should have expected all along with such ambiguity surrounding the topic of death, and the out-of-nature story that is Watership Down
, a true reflection would harbor on a roulette wheel of genres conveying the story and its emotions. Fall of Efrafa are a band of many faces and each face is a beautiful one to look at.