So we know that there is new Ion Dissonance on the horizon and this is a great thing because they bring the chaotic, probing assault of math metal like no other. There’s something else really fun happening now with an influx of really creative post-metal bands trying their hand at grim, sludge like sounds. I need not name names. As a big fan of crushing atmosphere and jarring chugs, I’ve often sat scratching my bald patch wondering whether these two styles could mesh and systematically implode brain cells with the power of music; you know the feeling, that moment where you hear something that leaves your mouth agape and your eyes glazed over. Well fuck me, Thefalls released an album that did this over a year ago.
Thefalls make music out of Drammen in Norway and while I may be relatively close to their home geographically speaking, this band are miles and miles ahead of everything I thought I’d heard before. From someone who thought Between The Buried And Me peaked the day they released Alaska (I’ve missed the manic, shifting masses of music that they totally nailed on their earlier material), I honestly can’t think of a band that have made progressive metal as divine as what’s found on Break The Calm. When I say progressive metal, I don’t mean fancy lyrical themes or technical metal played alongside clean vocals. No, I mean the art of taking basic forms of genres and fusing them with raw talent and creative wizardry; the end product being one that fucks with any one trying to “correctly” tag this band on last.fm. Progressive sludge my ass.
During the heavy handed sections of “Expect Nothing” and “Contempt”, Thefalls channel that Ion Dissonance comparison into hard hitting math cuts that groove, grind and could start a pit from a continent away. Every performance during these thunderous moments is nailed down with blasts and sharp cymbal hits perfectly placed betwixt strings damaged to the point of discordance. The harsh to clean vocal ratio, especially in “Contempt”, has to be heard, no if and or but about it. Normally I can deal without clean vocals but when they’re mixed so well with guttural gushings like the ones here, it’s difficult to deal with anything else after. Even tricks like the old panning guitar tracks don’t seem tired or cliché. Everything heavy here is heavier than a heavy thing.
It gets better though. The somber moments that keep the mayhem from taking full control are just as precise and poignant. I have a ridiculously short attention span with music but the fourteen minute beast that is “The Passing” has my heart held firmly in its icy Norwegian grip. If Mogwai playing a collaborative set with Bossk AND Cult Of Luna is something that you think you need in your life, it already exists and you/we missed it. Make it to the final unsettling moments of “These Ghosts Are Real” and you will in fact believe in the supernatural because this is just phenomenal and hard to believe. I’m going full fan boy at this point but it’s my article so who’s to say I can’t. I hand on heart want to kick my 24 year old booty to bits because I missed this the first time around.
Unfortunately, Thefalls don’t have a Bandcamp page (guys?!) but Break The Calm can be acquired through the usual music providers. All links are available to grab over on their Facebook page. Don’t be like Matt. Listen to this band while they are still hot in your memory.