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Falloch - "Where Distant Spirits Remain" (CD)

Falloch - "Where Distant Spirits Remain" CD cover image

"Where Distant Spirits Remain" track listing:

1. We Are Gathering Dust
2. Beyond Embers and the Earth
3. Horizons
4. Where We Believe
5. The Carrying Light
6. To Walk Amongst the Dead
7. Solace

Reviewed by on October 17, 2011

"They have so many elements that put them in the forefront of the blackgaze genre; albeit, the vocals and overall lyrics may get a bit too sensitive for the average metal listener."

The latest entrants into the blackgaze wave are a duo from Scotland named Falloch, who came together after Andy Marshall's group Askival disbanded. The blending of elements of black metal with post-punk sensibilities has picked up a lot of momentum as of late, and Falloch's offering "Where Distant Spirits Remain" shares many traits of what we've seen from blackgaze lately.

I must say that Falloch has accomplished more with seven songs than other bands hope to achieve with a full album. The tracks are long, dreary and redolent with transitions that engage very fluidly. On "Beyond Embers and the Earth," they know when to pick the beat up and drop it, blending faster rhythm with introspective, flute-laden interludes. "The Carrying Light" is only an ambient hint at black metal, which combines violins and a steady pace with classic, solid electric guitar towards the end. I also like how they layer the different infusions of sound in "To Walk Amongst the Dead." This ten-minute track layers thunder, ancestral chanting, acoustics and loud guitar riffing throughout its movements.

Falloch proves to be adept at writing interesting, complex melodies. "We Are Gathering Dust" is well construed in its soundscape, although at times, the singing doesn't resound with me. Marshall has a very sensitive, soft style of clean vocals that slightly resembles that of John Anderson - and it takes a while to warm to it if you're a metal listener. The harmonic singing is nice at times, but the overall power of those vocals needs to increase. In "Where We Believe," there's an interlude where he starts screaming in the background that's a bit too emo for me. The woodwinds and the hyper-speed guitar in that track are quite good, though. The other two songs are brief instrumentals that sound good as respites with their rain, piano and hypnotic chanting.

Falloch has blended complexity into its songs on "Where Distant Spirits Remain." Ronan Chris Murphy, who has worked with King Crimson, also had a hand in producing this album - thus explaining the professional overall sound and flow of the songs. They have so many elements that put them in the forefront of the blackgaze genre; albeit, the vocals and overall lyrics may get a bit too sensitive for the average metal listener.

Highs: Good complex melodies and transitions.

Lows: Vocals are a bit sensitive and lacking in power.

Bottom line: "Where Distant Spirits Remain" is a decent entrant to the blackgaze genre.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)