Black metal being a lawless society with no rules and barbarians at its gates to ensure no one creates any is a huge myth. There are a ton of guidelines artists are not supposed to go break, and when people go their own way, they’re not seen as true or real. It’s pretty funny, really, and it’s nice that so many bands have ignored that and gone their own way.
German black metal dreamers Farsot long have gone past the original rigid rules and have created a space very much of their own control. Creating similar tributaries as etched by bands such as Enslaved and Oranssi Pazuzu, Farsot have pushed their sound into the atmosphere and have recognized feral brutality is not the only way to make captivating black metal. Over their time together (which dates farther back that their recorded catalog), the band has delivered three mind-bending records, the latest being “Fail·Lure,” a six-track, nearly 48-minute journey into subject matter so refreshingly off the beaten-to-death black metal path. Influenced by Peter Greenway’s 1988 film “Drowning By Numbers” (a tale of three women successfully drowning their husbands), as well as Art Nouveau works by artists including Knopff and Klimt, the band creates a tale rife with all the tenets bringing down societies since day one, as well as rifts between the sexes that have been amplified, especially here in America, over the past half decade. The members—III . XXIII (guitars), XX . XVI, (strings), X.XIX (vocals, lyrics), XX . VIII (bass, keys), XIX . XVIII (drums and percussion)—only go by strange initials and shroud their faces, ensuring the focus is on their art and not the people behind these messages.
“Vitriolic” starts the record with an eerie path of noises that spread before the song opens into atmospheric, melodic black metal that soars. Creaky growls mix with strange singing, something that happens quite a bit on this record, while the track then goes into space and hits orbit. Once it returns, the pace grinds away while the drama keeps lapping like waves, and the track drowns in acoustics and whispers. “Circular Stains” stars in a clean, progressive vein, as whispers return and circle, before the tempo rips a hole in the ambiance. Those Enslaved comparisons come into focus a bit, while throaty growls and sorrowful singing lead the plot. Cleaner guitars rain down, while growls scrape as the song spirals away. “With Obsidian Hands” begins clean but also with hearty howls. A synth wash settles in as buzzing growls make their presence felt. The pace chugs and takes on a proggy feel, while acoustics push in and help the song transition from dark to light. Later, the bass work bursts, while the keys hint of outer space travel as everything melts into the stars.
“Under Currents” starts with muscular riffs that bring the bruising. Growls and robotic speaking mix with chaos, but then breezy guitar work soothes the bleeding nerve endings. The song then goes into psychedelic dreaming, as the tempo ramps up, and a dose of spirited punishment is meted out and enthralls. Sounds hang in the air, while a gust of noise pushes in and removes the breath from your lungs. “The Antagonist” starts in an unexpected Western vibe, but it’s not long before maniacal growls arrive, and the song sparks the imagination. Buzzing singing numbs, while the music rips open and brings a sense of vertigo to the piece, along with shouts of “Who am I?” that loop and blend into the final streaks of trance. Closer “A Hundred to Nothing” is an instrumental piece with a bass-heavy start that falls into a pit of trickling guitar and atmospheric pressure. Strong melodies and proggy thunder combine with some low-rumbling whispers as the song melts away.
Farsot’s deep imagination and yearning for something outside the normal parameters of black metal is what gives us collections as riveting as “Fail·Lure.” They’ve managed to come up with something that fits in with but also stands apart from the rest of their catalog, as well as a piece of work that stretches your mind into other realms of thinking. The gatekeepers may want to keep black metal confined to a tiny box, but as long as bands such as Farsot are willing to destroy those boundaries, they’re going to be the ones to grow the sound well into the future.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/farsot.official/
To buy the album, go here: http://en.prophecy.de/pre-order-bundles/
For more on the label, go here: http://en.prophecy.de/