After a slightly more-than-brief hiatus, Metalhangover is back, and like a bad case of hemorrhoids, this time with added anal soreness and unsightly bleeding. In the end we do it for you, the uninformed masses, who need to be fucking told what to listen to. I digress. Coming to you in this edition of the Metalhangover’s most excellent reviews is a band from Portland, Maine that I hold near and dear to my heart, Falls of Rauros. If you are like me, then you know what it’s like to have a void in your soul brought on by the dissociation of Agalloch and the ensuing onslaught of post metal nonsense that took their place. Simply put, I yearn for intricately layered riffs, thoughtful, evocative composition, and epic as fuck lengthy tracks. The recently popular approach of combining post-black metal atmosphere with folk metal structure has paid off in spades for talented groups like Falls of Rauros that are capable of linking a new theme to an overdone meter. Combining the glory of early Opethian riffing with the stirring composition of Numenorean and Ghost Bath (minus the horrible, mock-like shrieking), this album is standout amongst the whitewash of competitors. If you are like me, look no further.
And so Falls of Rauros brings us five excellently crafted epics in this, their fourth full length release, though the progressive model of composition makes it seem twice that length. Beginning with White Granite, the modus operandi becomes apparent; tight, varied guitar work alternating from acoustic grace to doomy post metal riffing excellence. One thing that stands out in particular is the muteness of the drums. To me, drums are the vessel on which music is served. That being said, too many bands rely on overpowered percussion, which drowns out more nuanced elements in metal, like the ever elusive audible bass. Every instrument shines in its own right, and occupies its own space in a way that is difficult for many bands.
I have to applaud Falls of Rauros in this aspect. Not too many bands are confident enough in all aspects of production to have every instrument discernable. The bass is great, the guitar is great, the drums are in the background but are wonderfully varied in approach. Each of their epics in entrenched in progressive composition, making a five song album sound like much more. From beautifully composed acoustic asides like Warm Quiet Centuries of Rains, to unrelenting alternating riff madness throughout the rest of the album, this is a feat to be enjoyed in one sitting.
Breaking it all down to brass tacks; is this really that good, or am I just an unabashed fanboy? A little bit of both I would have to say. Admittedly, this album requires commitment in listening, and is not for those who want instant gratitude with their metal. It is a rewarding listen, and is guaranteed to be an essential piece to the discerning listener’s collection. That being said, if you don’t have the patience for 12 minute long songs, steer away. The vocals are a bit monotonous, but fill their purpose in the overall scheme of the album. Nothing is out of place. This is the most solid post black metal album since Numenorean’s epic Home. Listen to it.
I give Vigilance Perennial, by Falls of Rauros, eight and a half horns out of ten.
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