There is some music that’s made for certain seasons, whether that’s the artists’ intentions or not. Some things just seem to fit certain moods, like harsh black metal in the winter or Iron Maiden’s blazing glory in the summer. For whatever reason, the weather just seems to suit those bands, and vice versa.
With tomorrow being the birth of November and another huge step into autumnal terrain, the new record from Falls of Rauros could not have come at a more fitting time. “Believe in No Coming Shore” sounds tailor made for this time of year, and I thought that well back to when I was listening to this thing on a beach with the sun beating down a couple months ago. It made me hunger for cold, dark nights, darker beers, and any excuse to huddle near a fire. The band’s grasp and alignment with nature surely pushes that along, but there’s something about this record that bites your skin with chilly winds and makes you think of chilled creeks and rivers coated in brown, yellow, and red leaves, awaiting the first oppressive snowfall.
Another thing that must be noted about this Maine-based black metal band is the richness of their sound that no doubt contributes to the music helping connect mind and body with the season. The band weaves many different sounds into their formula, including a heavy doses of Americana and folk that help further color and inform their hearty, spacious sound. The band–who simply go by their first names of Jordan, Evan, Ray, and Aaron and all contribute to the mix–have been making huge strides over their two full-length albums, 2008’s impressive “Hail Wind and Hewn Oak” and their 2011 follow-up “The Light That Dwells in Rotten Wood.” Falls of Rauros have slowly, steadily built a loyal, passionate following of people who no doubt emotionally identify with the band’s music, and they’re bound to be pleased to no end with this incredible new opus, their new high-water mark.
The record opens rather delicately, easing you in with “Blue Misshapen Dusk” that’s constructed with calm, trickling water, clean guitars spilling out slowly, and an airy feel of nature before it leads into “Ancestors of Shadow.” That, too, begins cleanly, building into something progressive, and then letting warm electrics pull a warm blanket over everything before erupting. The vocals are harsh and passionate, with great melodies carrying you on its shoulders and fiery leads that inject more passion than you can handle into the song. Great a song as it is, it’s really a precursor to one of the best pieces Falls of Rauros ever have created. The track is the stunning “Ancestors of Smoke,” a song that builds perfectly over its 10:07, beginning with poetic and furious leads, wild howls that sound like they originated deep in the soul, and a tremendous spiritual alignment among all four members. Halfway through, the song seems to come to an end, before folky acoustic guitars rise up, met with rich, syrupy slide guitars that remind a bit of Songs: Ohia/Magnolia Electric Co. Heaviness eventually returns, but the band doesn’t abandon the rustic elements, and the final moments are both catastrophic and completely cathartic. This is one of those special cuts where all the parts move together ideally, making for a song that can act as their calling card.
“Waxen Voices” also is a tremendous, challenging track, with acoustics dressing the initial moments and an extended, melodic passage growing out of that, where everyone gets to stretch their legs and build one hell of an atmosphere. The band chugs a little harder on this song, digging deeper into the more disruptive elements of black metal, but there also are some sunburst lead lines here, making me wonder if they were jamming some Allman Bros. at some point during the record’s creation. You can feel this one building in your heart, driving your blood through your veins, and the vocals begin wailing like a battle cry, while the drums deliver a vicious bruising. When the song comes to an abrupt end, you might find yourself totally out of breath. “Spectral Eyes” is fast, melodic, and challenging, with gushing vocals, nicely textured melodies, soulful lead guitar work, and even some bits that sound like they could make an indie rock fan smile. This is a tremendous piece of work, and oddly, it fills me with nostalgia listening to this one, like it’s connecting me with something from my past. I’m still trying to figure out what. Like the opener, the closing title track mixes acoustic with electric guitar, blending them wonderfully. Lead lines burst through this line sunbeams, with the melody feeling numb and sleepy in spots, bustling in others. The track concludes like you’re waking up from a dream that’s gripped you through the night but also gave you plenty to think about during the coming day.
I highly encourage you to secure a copy of “Believe in No Coming Shore” in any (legal) way necessary. It is one of the year’s best metal records and one that will keep delivering every time you visit. Falls of Rauros are in a class all by themselves, a band that has a firm grasp of the heavy, emotional, and delicate and weave it all together beautifully. Crisp winds are in the air, the winter is on its way, and it’s never been a better time to bask in this band’s glory. Do it now before the truly special moment to experience this record passes you by for another year.
For more on the band, go here: http://fallsofrauros.blogspot.com/
To buy the album, go here: http://eihwazrecordings.com/distro/
Or here: http://www.nordvis.com/store/
For more on the label, go here: http://bindrunerecordings.com/
Or here: http://www.nordvis.com/