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Fallstaf - "Bastard Sons Of A Pure Breed" (CD)

Fallstaf - "Bastard Sons Of A Pure Breed" CD cover image

"Bastard Sons Of A Pure Breed" track listing:

1. Dark Days (3:26)
2. The Cost (3:21)
3. Eulogy (4:14)
4. Not Welcome (3:41)
5. Pull the Knife (3:35)
6. My Demons Acoustic (4:23)
7. 10 Years In Flames (2:34)
8. The Hounds (5:36)
9. Fuck the Fence (4:14)
10. My Demons (4:22)
11. Violent As Violence Can Be (4:10)

Reviewed by on November 20, 2011

"Taking the energy of hardcore and the overall sound of modern groove metal, the band then upsets the formula by adding in the brass to follow the guitars, echo past the bass, and circle around the drums."

If you thought all the sub-genres that could possibly exist had already been named, you were quite mistaken, as metal continues to get more and more diverse with ever more evolution. This time around we get “brass metal” from Canada’s Fallstaf, which takes a variety of metal styles and meshes them together by throwing in a trombone player.

Fallstaf isn’t the typical “symphonic” based band that might be expected by the addition of a non-metal instrument like the trombone. There are bands like Therion that make orchestra elements the backbone of the music, and acts like Ihsahn that have worked a saxophone into extreme metal in a fluid mix, but Fallstaf is another beast entirely. Taking the energy of hardcore and the overall sound of modern groove metal, the band then upsets the formula by adding in the brass to follow the guitars, echo past the bass, and circle around the drums.

Besides the presence of the trombone, Fallstaf also regularly puts an emphasis on the bass, for a total sound that may appeal to the avant-garde and progressive crowd, even if they normally wouldn’t be pulled in by the hardcore vibe. There’s also a balance between the vocal work, switching from a hardcore yell to a smooth and melancholy clean singing for tracks like “My Demons.” There are segments where the band moves towards death metal, but the vocals tend to keep the music from ever truly breaking the death barrier.

Songs like “The Hounds” do a fantastic job of combining the trombone with the electric guitar, with each instrument working off and following the other. At times however it does feel like the brass isn’t properly integrated into the music to the level that it could be, instead ending up more as a backing element rather than the front-and-center driving force. The trombone also tends to sound distant in the mix and occasionally gets drowned out by the guitar work.

“Bastard Sons of a Pure Breed” has enough diversity so there’s never a dull or completely predictable moment, and the mesh of different styles broadens the music’s appeal to just about any metal head out there. The album is an interesting iteration of metal that adds something new to the standard sound, but it just hasn’t quite yet got that “wow” factor to make it a classic or must-have addition. Fallstaf is basically a hardcore/groove act with a gimmick at this point, but it seems like there’s the imminent possibility of the band becoming something pretty spectacular if the members rework the brass elements a bit.

Highs: Groovy mix of hardcore and other metal styles with an interesting addition in the trombone.

Lows: The trombone elements aren't always used as well as they could be.

Bottom line: An interesting change of pace that throws a trombone player into a hardcore/groove metal act.

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)