Review: Falloch – “Where Distant Spirits Remain” (2011)

Falloch‘s crushing debut album hasn’t left my rotation since I first heard it several weeks ago. Where Distant Spirits Remain is fresh, melodic and has just enough heaviness to keep you from feeling like a wimp after listening to it. In a lot of ways this album reminds me of Solstafir‘s recent masterpeice Kold, with its clean vocal attack and subtle progressive leanings. In other ways these guys are reminiscent of bands like Anathema, Extol, or even bands like Fen, Agalloch and Alcest. Basically, if you like atmospheric, emotionally driven metal you’ll most certainly dig these guys.

Tracks like ‘Where We Believe’ and opener ‘We Are Gathering Dust’ are the backbone of Falloch’s debut, mixing striking clean vocals with the bright, driving style of the guitars. The album’s inviting blend of styles – post-rock influences, breathtaking female vocals, soft keyboard passages – all help to make Where Distant Spirits Remain a very complete and captivating listen, especially for a debut. Each song is a journey by itself, whether it’s one of the album’s heavier offerings or a softer interlude like ‘Horizons’. The maturity of songwriting these guys really impresses me – they seem to know exactly when to punch you in the face and when to scale things back for a more melodic

Extol’s final album The Blueprint Dives is probably the closest thing to Falloch musically that I’ve heard, minus that band’s progressive leanings and complex sense of rhythm. Like Extol, Falloch employs a clean vocal styles that borders on being whiny at times, sometimes sounding almost Linkin Park-like without being annoying (yes, that’s possible). It took one or two listens to get used to, but actually the vocals lend themselves well to the melodic style of this band, and while they may not be the band’s strong point they certainly are a critical part of Falloch’s overall sound. Falloch does include a lot more atmospheric effects like keyboards than Extol does, giving their
music a much more expansive, evocative quality.

Where Distant Spirits Remain has more than enough going for it to make it one of the better albums I’ve heard this year. Falloch have managed to combine a mellow, atmospheric approach with powerful metal riffing, crafting an album that’s emotional and heavy but also intoxicatingly melodic and addictive. If your taste is anything like mine I urge you to check it out.

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November 17, 2011 in Album Reviews

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