Written by: Valkyrjia
Release Date: March 25th, 2022
Melodic Black/Death Metal from North Bay, ON, Canada
FFO: Dissection, Enslaved, Taake, Kampfer, Agalloch
The depth of self-discovery and exploration that Melodic Death Metal and Black Metal have begun to delve into over the past several years has opened the ears and eyes of fans around the globe. The deep growls, and harsh vocals of a genre once believed to be purely ‘the work of the Devil’ has risen up, breaking away from the rumours and beliefs of the past to land on solid ground.
Falamh follows on the heels of their 2020 release, “The Unbound Beyond: I” with their latest EP titled “Aeons Effigy” – a concept EP about the journey and discovery of oneself and the transformation that will occur. As Falamh’s vocalist Kyle Tayler puts it “whether steadfast or yielding, change is always inevitable and it’s how someone reacts that can determine the perspective and outcome.”
The first track off this 4-track EP is called “Winds of Silence” that sees an upbeat mix of groove and depth to get you headbanging along. Lyrically, it is a complex creation of perseverance, and holding strength before the challenges that come at you. It’s fast, and heavy, with a sound that comes off a bit diluted, and almost washed out, especially when the lyrics come in. I love the solid mix of lyrical pauses and breaks that allow for clearer instrumentals to be appreciated for their own complex composition – riffs, brief drum solos, and high chords echo in a synchronized unison, yet stand out all their own.
“Blackened Waves” follows up and is a bit on the milder side with some dynamic highs and lows to keep movement steady. This track is about confusion, being lost at sea and the near-death experience that results. The music moves like waves in the ocean, carrying the beat of this track from stormy shores to windless calm. The harsh vocals on this track are strong, and the production has more overall clarity than the previous track with the heavy beat of drums coming through on the intensity that was needed. String pauses that turn from heavy to light create a beautiful atmosphere of darkness and despair as they offer a moment of rest from the overall madness. This track displays both power and depth in terrific unison that builds on the atmospheric tension of the underlying tone.
The third track titled “Benighted Weald” begins acoustically to build the tone of a tale revolving around someone cursed by a forest, and not long for this world. The guitars still ring through, light in their composition before dropping into the darkness of the forest canopy. The path paved before us dwindles in fading light, and we feel the emotional shift alongside the musical tones of this track. There are quick-moving drums that hammer us with ferocity, and dark twisting chords down a winding trail of unknowns that keep us guessing. Airy moments of peace bring us back to this story’s core, and the loss within that paints a vivid image of someone’s staggering journey through self-discovery whether through by death or decisiveness.
Ending the EP is “Aethereal Forger,” that comes in slow before cranking up the heat. This track is created with an Apocalyptic feel, or fiery end of the world experience that no one can stop from coming. “Tortured skies bring forth the flames. Chaos eternal shall rise” crank the intensity the moment this line drops, bringing a strange cold to a heated track resulting in a sense of loss and overwhelming dread. Musically, this track holds complex mixes of sudden drum rise, and guitars that shift from acoustic highs to burning lows.
The Bottom Line:
Production value seems to be lost on this EP, with my ears trying to tune in but, feeling as if they’re water-logged for most of the experience. Each track is an experience all its own, with lyrical complexities tied into instrumental evocation that results in some expressive content. It’s melodic and heavy, with moments of clarity in airy acoustics and solos that keep us guessing at every turn and makes it a repeat listen for anyone seeking to explore some Melodic Black/Death Metal that really takes a quick-change approach to its execution.
Favourite Track: Benighted Weald