Falaise — My Endless Immensity
As the umbrella term of 'black metal' continues to expand, including more and more disparate genres and sub-genres into the fold, the scene also continues to produce a lot of distinct, and enjoyable music. Falaise entered the fray with their 2015 offering As Time Goes By, which I really enjoyed — especially the haunting and melodic title-track. The group's sophomore record, My Endless Immensity picks up where the last album left off, but doesn't simply tread over the same ground.
Falaise borrow the wretched vocal style, and some other archetypal aspects of the black metal genre — blast beats and tremolo riffing mostly — and fuse it with elements of post-rock, shoegaze and the atmospheric end of the blackened spectrum. The real draw, at least for me, is the heavy use of piano, strings, and backing choirs; whether they are driving the track forward or just providing atmospheric flourishes in the background, their usage is excellent and really helps build a haunting, somber mood.
My Endless Immensity is a very heavy record, though more in the emotional tone of the music than displayed by an outright sonic assault. Each track takes its time to set a tone and work through melodies, giving them time to sink in before adding more and more layers of instrumentation and building towards a cathartic apex. The second track, "The Embrace Of Water" is a perfect example of this, running almost 7 minutes and making good use of all of that time.
One criticism against Falaise is that their material — given their consistent sound and lack of writing in the verse-chorus-verse structure — can be hard to distinguish on a track-by-track basis. As a fan of listening to full albums in their entirety, this did not bother me too much, this is a matter of songs containing common elements and not a case of the band being a one-trick pony. Like many successful bands, Falaise have carved out their own niche sound and do well operating within it.
While very similar to their debut effort, My Endless Immensity does showcase improvements in the song-writing and overall composition. This is hardly a giant leap forward, but demonstrates a clear maturation since their previous album. It isn't necessary for bands to reinvent themselves with every release, and My Endless Immensity is a good example of why: Falaise clearly have a lot more ideas and inspiration in the tank.
On the more melodic side of the modern black metal spectrum, Falaise do well to offer an alternative to the monotonous, unrelenting fury of orthodox black metal. And even stacked up against many of their contemporaries, Falaise have a lot to offer fans of sprawling, melodic, emotionally intense music.
Falaise's debut album was a really pleasant surprise for me, and the follow-up to that record maintains the standard of quality initially set forth by this project. Fans of the more melodic, atmospheric side of modern black metal would do well to give this project some attention. Combining a unique combination of genre influences with crisp, clean production, My Endless Immensity is haunting, melodic and still finds room to veer off into intense moments of sonic fury.
Release date: August 2nd, 2017
Record label: Independent
Matteo Guarnello — vocals, keyboards, drums
Lorenzo Pompili — guitar, bass
- The Embrace Of Water
- You Towards Me
- Crimson Clouds
- The Abyss
- Sweltering City
- Pristine Universe
- A Veil Of Stars
- Les Ruches Malades (Amesoeurs cover)
Published: March 10th, 2018.