This Island, Our Funeral
27th January 2015 – Candlelight Records
02. For Life
03. For Dir
06. I Shall Build Mountains
Since Glaswegians Falloch’s debut release, the band have gone through monumental changes to their line up. The most notable of these has been vocalist Andy Marshall, who left the fold to be replaced by Tony Dunn. Thankfully, this dramatic change has meant they have come back more refined and Dunn has managed to outshine his predecessor.
The 4-piece provide most of the atmospherics a post-metal band would be expected to convey, but they fuse it with a folk sound that is contrasted with moments of thundering doom. This Island, Our Funeral has an epically-scaled sound that dwarfs their debut; the production brings out coherence in the instruments while keeping a raw and earthly footing. Vocally, it’s much stronger this time round; partly layered in harmonies, the confidence in Tony Dunn’s voice is felt. Used as an instrument itself, he accompanies their soundscape with long notes that run over the surface of the music.
“Torradh” makes for a beautiful opener; its raw and organic guitars conjure a feeling of true despair, which transitions into a flute and drum section that provides respite from the bleakness. Unrushed in their compositions, it is not until the 3-minute mark where we hear the song fall into place and each section is given time to build in this strong opener.
We get elements of that “blackened” sound from the intro of “For Life” through a ¾ time signature, overlaid with double pedals, a raw chugging rhythm section, and epic guitar harmonies. The impact is felt and it is delivered through simplicity. Falloch concentrate on emotional playing, attempting to convey that passion through modesty, rather than technical proficiency.
This, on most occasions, usually is a welcome listen; in amongst a sea of overly-technical bands, it seems with some that their ability to bring out emotion in sound has been forgotten. But Falloch unfortunately, have taken their restrained approach to composition down a route that becomes repetitive; post-metal – progressive in nature – relies on a slight change in playing. Each member should be thinking ahead, keeping the listener drawn in, but as we get to the latter half of the album it becomes rather dull. The last two songs of the album are over the 10-minute mark and listening to them becomes quite a chore. It’s a shame as the first half is such an enjoyable experience, but you do get the impression they have used up all their ammo by the halfway point.
Having focused their sound with this album, it has resulted in songs that become stagnant. They play a safe game and sadly the lack of experimentation is why the album loses its way. That being said, when the band are at their peak, they perfectly blend the bleakness with light. The vocals lead you in the darkness, providing the listener with reassurance through this cold and harsh landscape.
Falloch have the elements that could make them a great band and its highly possible that the third release will see them reach their true potential. Perhaps though, just as listening to this album, it is a question of patience.