Review Summary: Beauty in music redefined.
When it comes to premium music there's few acts that deserve the highest of critical and personal accolades. Sure, there's a host of albums any one person can mention in any pertaining enjoyable category. But those that stand above, truly heads and shoulders above, stand amongst very few. Falls Of Rauros are in fact, one of these premiere acts, even if they're not the first to come to mind. It’s also fitting that their latest, Patterns In Mythology
takes on everything this band has achieved throughout their career, but holds on dearly to a self-assured, surreal and grounded approach to expanding their hold on relevant black metal. Come 2019, Falls Of Rauros continue painting a lush soundscape that is equal parts arctic desolation and unending dizzying hope.
Patterns In Mythology
essentially picks up where Vigilance Perennial
left off, but it’s far from being that black and white. While the former relied heavily on grandeur and epic sensibilities, Patterns In Mythology
lives in pure atmosphere. Right from the album’s more sensual beginnings in “Détournement,” Falls Of Rauros take their careers’ statement and build on the barreling lushness of the genre’s very stereotypes. Sure, it could be argued that all of this has been done before, but rarely at this calibre. Everything about Patterns In Mythology
demands attention. From “Détournement”’s steady build of majesty to the Swarth
-ly cold pummel of “Weapons Of Refusal,” listeners are catapulted from one emotion to the extreme of another. From wistful longingness to the raspy furor of isolation, Falls Of Rauros have mastered their art. It’s ambitious, not to mention insanely immersive, how this Maine act can draw in their listeners with any combination black metal aesthetic (tremolo guitar passages, blast beats, snarls and growls etc.) and lustful folk-y melodies without boring a listener over a moderate eleven minute run-time. It’s matured in its furious approach, like a landslide from above the descent is indiscriminate, abrupt and devastating. But it’s also complemented by some dancing melodies that hold the tumult and roar of Falls Of Rauros’ music together.
As the record progresses a few things become clear. First, Falls Of Rauros have been building towards this moment with little to no indication of slowing down. With a few gorgeous melodies in tow, they release their albums with increased proficiency. “New Inertia” stands to define this thought. Gentle notes dance across a wide portrait, more akin to airy brush strokes without clear purpose. It’s this almost contemplative theme that ties one song to another and the listener to the journey. In a record already filled to the brim with sheer quality, it’s a little harder to find a climax, but “Last Empty Tradition” is the apex of an already steep climb. An introduction filled with joyous virtuosity melds the emotive force with want, met with a gusto of on-point musicianship. It’s not flashy, and not at all innovative, but what is on offer here stands well above the need to push on stale boundaries. Instead, “Last Empty Tradition” transforms on itself, without forgetting that integral, all important melody line that carries the listener slowly to the Patterns In Mythology
finale. “Last Empty Tradition”’s nine minute run-time may have a drawn out, wandering sense to it, but it’s far from a struggle to listen to. Its adulation, the self value of success, self-confidence and reinvigoration of soul that allows what comes next; full immersion, without trepidation or need for cautious hesitation. “Memory At Night” closes the album in the best possible way. Those bass lines you’ve been hearing for the album’s entirety help encapsulate every riff, support every drum passage take yet another step into frame. It bolsters the cleans, reinforces the gritty riff upheaval and adds a depth to music in a genre that sorely needed another hero to maintain its relevance. Falls Of Rauros’ 2019 effort is just enough of a black metal to keep the purists in line, but its foundation of atmospheric folk transcends the normal bounds of what is expected from the realms of atmospheric black metal. The wanderings of “Memory At Night” provide a sensual benchmark of quality, without the usual trappings of genre conformity.
There are those who find the likes of this years’ Saor or Cân Bardd ‘too’ epic, but the restrained Patterns In Mythology
is clearly a story, told expertly by narrators who know exactly what they’re doing. It’s not conventional (for what conventional would normally require in such a soundscape) but neither is it outlandish. The guys from Maine highlight balance; whether it be musicianship, the balance of the album’s mixing or even the when needed approach of its vocal sections that prevents all manners of an overbearing, unwelcoming listen. For forty-five minutes listeners experience a masterclass of modern black metal that leans heavily on its folk-y atmospherics, joyful notes and artful mid-paced rhythms. Patterns In Mythology
is an album full of successes, for fans and fans of music everywhere.