Review Summary: It's kind of like watching napalm evaporate into a rich texture of chocolate ice cream while green squirrels rain down from the heavens to protect the endangered sea lizards.
Record labels continue to push what the public demands; it’s no secret. If the public demands a catchy chorus with superficial rhymes then that is exactly what will be played. Here you might find vocals so distorted that you couldn’t tell whether or not they were soaked in atmospheric reverb or autotune effects so intense that even T-Pain couldn’t recognize it. The early 2000’s seemed to be well consumed in Post Grunge/Nu-Metal nostalgia and for the most part a genre of music that was slowly on its exit from mainstream popularity. The Rock category and its inclusive subgenres were quickly on their way out as no longer were they the representative sound of the youth (this is a sensitive topic for many fans of the genre such as myself but it’s simply the hard truth). Hip Hop and RnB pounced on adolescents across America, delivering a tone that was in itself only a shadow of its former 1990’s glory. The genre continued to expand as mainstream rock continued to pour into generic obscurity out of some desperate attempt to stay relevant and make money.
Enter William Duvall, an artist known mostly for his work with Alice In Chains. Duvall’s vocal range is among the best for those who know his sound and at times he can draw chilling comparisons to Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin) when he’s performing these wailing hooks. Had a group like Comes With The Fall blown up into mainstream popularity during the early 2000’s, there’s an overwhelmingly good chance that we’d be listening to some incredible music on the radio right now. I couldn’t tell you what that sound might incorporate, but it would be far superior to what we’re hearing now. While CWTF incorporates classic rock elements and merges them with the post grunge style, it’s nothing like the mainstream acts that you might be familiar with. Duvall’s writing talents could easily compete with the likes of Kurt Cobain or David Gilmour at times and the incredible time signatures utilized by CWTF’s drummer Bevan Davies are truly remarkable on tracks like “So Cruel”.
I actually happened upon these guys by means of the internet and at that moment an interesting concept came to mind. The listener is always in control and that’s a very powerful thing to consider. We can choose what we find to be stellar or amazing in our respective taste; we don’t have to let corporate labels tell us what’s trending and which album should be purchased on set date. Notice that in the case of independently owned labels, the music comes off as much more genuine and creative. If we support the music of independent labels, we’ll have groups like Atlantic and Warner sweating down to the pours in their neck hairs. This philosophy is something that Duvall promotes in his own songwriting as his punk rock influences certainly have influenced the sound of Comes With The Fall. It wouldn’t be correct to say that CWTF is a punk rock band as there’s more of a alternative rock feel here than anything. The strongest punk rock influence you’ll encounter on this record is the track “Unbreakable” where Duvall boastfully hits vocal octaves reminiscent of Layne Staley’s earlier days.
“Think about what you need/ And how you've been denied
Think about what you are/ Are you satisfied?” (Unbreakable)
Even after hearing a track like this, I still have to say that even the emotion of tracks like “Strung Out On A Dream” simply aren’t the best (and trust me, Comes With The Fall’s worst is better than most people’s best). The album ends on a stellar and memorably potent “Never See Me Cry”. The progression of this song reminds me of what Jimmy Page used to do on songs like “The Rain Song”. Running in at about seven minutes long, “Never See Me Cry” features some of the best song writing I’ve ever heard period, touching on emotional highs and lows as it eventually fades away in this very epic solo unlike anything your ears have ever touched on. Your soul will simply burst into tears after hearing the conclusion of this song as Duvall can make the guitar connect on levels never thought possible. The instrumentation behind this song is stunning though and I had a hard time believing that such a rock ballad could be crafted here in the 2000's. The exotic sounds that come together on this track are just articulated so well and if you do anything else, just get this album for the sake of having that one song (you won't regret this decision anytime soon).
It sometimes disappoints me when we open up the discussion of how select band or artist was groundbreaking and then we bring up our favorite independent artists. The other person that you're exchanging words with simply replies with a "nah man, never really heard of em". That's when you give them the autonomy to explore a sound quite like any other, but like most people, they'll probably put your recommendation off to the side and miss out on something truly miraculous. Honestly, I don’t think we should let a group like Comes With The Fall fade out into irrelevance because these kind of groups only come around under the right circumstances. Albums like “The Year Is One” only come out once in a generation and I’m proud that I got to share that experience with the many others that happened upon this group.