Review Summary: In the overtone of cynicism and depression, this album pushes on, creating a beautiful piece of a young trilogy.
The Fall of Efrafa are a strange band to pin down, stylistically and conceptually. The band has decided that they will only record 3 albums, all linked together in a trilogy, about reimagining of the mythological and political overtones in the book Watership Down
by Richard Adams. First off is this album, “Owsla” (meaning warrior or defender), which creates the backbone of a narrative about an unarmed society dealing with the end of a war against mankind. The society clings to the dated beliefs of their elders, and will not break free of these ideologies. Followed by that is “Elil” (meaning enemy or predator), which tells the story of these beliefs and the oppressive reign of religious indoctrination. In this part of the trilogy, the society throws away the rule of their God, Frith. The final chapter is “Inle” (meaning death), it is the final recording of The Fall of Efrafa, and the last in the trilogy, dealing with hope in the face of death. It is important to note that every member of this band is a vegan and an atheist, and the lyrics of the trilogy itself show that, with the talk of a dwindling religion (link to Christianity?) to the overthrowing of an old God (link to God of Christianity?). The band aren't assholes about their opinions either, they love to talk discuss them with anyone and everyone, saying, “It is easy to label this as preaching or arrogance, but communication is how we learn. Debating such issues only helps us become more aware of our actions.”
As I said, this band is not easy at all to pin down. In the most barren of terms, they are a combination of hardcore, folk/ambient black metal, post-rock and post-metal. But according to Channing Freeman, that is the most god awful description to ever be mouthed. The band is an absolute tour de force. From pulsing, crushing, fast-paced hardcore, to ambient stretches, to throat-shattering vocals from Alex; this band definitely is a tight knit group that has an idea of the music their writing and where they want it to go. An ambient intro of cello’s greets your ears and from the beginning you know, there will be no joy in this album, it will be bleak, and it will be depressing. The intro flows right into the beginning ambient guitar of “Pity the Weak,” a track that takes your face and stomps it in the mud hundreds of times before they let you have another breather. The story of a race too arrogant and ignorant to realize their actions are only bringing them faster and faster to their ultimate death and destruction, the vocals of a melancholy story are only reinforced by a slew of riffs and drum fills in the background pounding the song forward. The band themselves together throughout the entire album show a cohesiveness not shown in most bands, playing an absolutely tight rhythm section between the bass player, a glued together guitar section where both the guitar players can switch lead and backing without skipping a heartbeat.
In an absolute breathtaking ending to the album, “The Fall of Efrafa” wraps up the first part of the trilogy incredibly well. The story of the societies desperate attempt to overthrow and be rid of the Efrafa, “Even when we have nothing left to live for, it is our instinct to survive. Even when we are scared and alone we can muster the energy to make the final charge.” Throughout the album, the band show a great understanding of what they’re doing, and know where they went their songs to go. Every member of the band has tight playing, and the vocalist absolutely shreds his throat to pieces. If you’re looking for a band that has new ideas and takes those places, The Fall of Efrafa just might be for you. If you’re looking for a depressing album that may just reflect our own society, The Fall of Efrafa might be for you. If you’re looking to get your head crushed by furious music, The Fall of Efrafa might be for you. In the overtone of cynicism and depression, this album pushes on, creating a beautiful piece of a young trilogy.
They are the warmongers
And they will make our laws
A paw will fall upon the weak
They will mark the day
In death we make our charge, our last lament x2
To turn the tide, in our numbers;
the final will fall - they have our fear
We have the will
A battle cry will sound out
shrill against the night
and with it our retribution