Saturday, January 10, 2015

Campfire metal - Falls of Rauros' Believe In No Coming Shore

Affability is a curious trait to single out in any album, let alone one with black metal voice.

But Maine band Falls of Rauros' Believe In No Coming Shore is a lovely, warm-sounding, folk-ridden piece of work, shrieking or no.
So why's it been on repeat during my journeys this week? 

The guitars

Whether Falls of Rauros are charging forward at blast-beat speed, or slowing for doom metal boogie, acoustic interludes and spindly-indie post-rocking, the playing always retains a calming campfire quality to it. To these ears, indie-soaked as they are, the two reference points that spring to mind are David Pajo of Slint, Tortoise et al and Doug Martsch from Built To Spill. Warm, contemplative guitarists both.

To illustrate, let me present the riff on Ancestors of Shadow. Beautiful device that it is, even the band love it so much that they reprise it later in the album.

If this gets you, then the remainder of the album will keep growing on you. I near as darnit guarantee it. Clocking in at a spare 40+ minutes, it's a pleasing reminder to artists everywhere that you can produce a well-rounded album in less than an hour and not leave the listener short-changed.

The vocals provide the grit in the oyster and prevent Believe descending into the blackened equivalent of Carole King's Tapestry (although that would be an awesome thing indeed, if anyone fancies it). The lyrics, as usual, are indecipherable, but their meditations on autonomy and persistence make for a surprisingly compelling textual companion piece to the music. 

One final thought: it's striking how successfully Falls of Rauros integrate some of the musical and approaches of extreme metal into the continuum of (alternative) rock. Or, if you like, vice versa. Either way, it feels like there's some fence moving going on, and for a confirmed believer in musical impurity like myself this can only be a good thing.

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