without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
Within the Fall is an independent death/doom metal band based out of Sweden. The guys formed in 2010, and have a freshly released EP titled “Through the Shadows”, recorded and produced by the band. These guys have managed to construct quite a professional sound, and some true solid and heavy music to be proud of. There are only four tracks, but EP as a whole is around 26 minutes long without any filler or silly break downs.
The adventure into this Swedish death/doom experience begins with “Into the Arms of Grief” because if you’re going to call yourself doom, you best represent it with some grief. Full of harsh gutturals, devastating riffs, and solid drumming, this song does not disappoint. The lead guitar work in this song is eerie and haunts you in ways that can only be experienced throughout the song. After a particularly creepy short solo, some spoken word occurs, and continues into a quite memorable echoed guitar solo managing to bring an entire new range of emotions into the music. After their shining moment showcasing their doom elements, the track goes right back into those same crushing riffs.
The next track “Leaving” was released as a single in August of 2012. There was definite merit to releasing this track as a single because I feel it seriously nails the style of metal perfectly. There are fantastic moments of melodic guitar riffs, layered over some great double bass, and then some moments of droning melancholic vocals. All blended together it really showcases all that this band is about and capable of. “Shadows & Dust” is a versatile and slower song, with great touches of clean guitar work over some seriously haunting vocals, capable of giving anyone chills as it progresses into guttural vocals yet again.
The EP finshes with quite the beautiful track, “The Burial”, and as I sit here alone in the dark I can’t help but truly feel the pain and anguish behind the track. It begins with whispered words, beautiful clean string work from both bass and guitar, and perfectly simple drums. The clean vocals are stunning and in my humble opinion, need to be utilized more, as they are probably the best clean vocals in any independent metal band I’ve ever heard. As the song progresses, it gets heavier and darker as the hard vocals return, very reminiscent of the structure of an early Opeth track, and one hell of a way to end this release.
[Originally written for MetalWani.com]
Death/doom bands have always underwhelmed me in the past, as they've always been a bit too much death and not enough doom. That said, I take bands on artistic merit and musicianship and try not to pigeonhole them. Initial impressions of opener Into The Arms of Grief are really impressive. Within The Fall play intelligently and don't over egg the death metal influence, choosing to flit between doom passages and semi-thrash riffs. The vocals are death metal inspired growls, but are not overpowering like other bands. This is also the shortest of the four songs on show here at just over five minutes, so it was always going to have that sense of urgency about it.
Things start heading in a slower, more atmospheric direction with Leaving. The lengthy, guitar driven build up leads you to more deathly growls. There's a great hint of subtle melody thanks to some cleanly played guitar. It certainly shows Within The Fall are genuinely comfortable with altering their blueprint. They even have time to throw in a bit of clean singing! Within The Fall are able to experiment and throw in different soundscapes and influences, which make this EP a very assured effort indeed. Shadows & Dust follows on from the textures in Leaving, with more whispered vocals and use of melody to break up the mournful atmosphere. The music does take a bit of a turn part way through, thanks to some rousing double bass, which again underlines the bands death metal beginnings.
The Burial is probably the most introspective track on Through The Shadows. The plucked guitar and layered melody, along with those characteristic whispered vocals give it a quite beautiful feel and the singing that comes later, just reinforces that praise. Overall, I was pretty taken aback by this EP. The breadth of musicianship here is brilliant and it's almost how I picture death/doom to sound. Within The Fall seem to nail it and as a result, should grow and flourish.
I had previously reviewed this Swedish group's 2011 demo A Story to Be Told, their initial foray into melodic death/doom that drew influence from the earlier works of UK legends like both Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride and Anathema, and their own crushing countrymen like October Tide. Interestingly enough, they've also got some connections to another band called Soliloquium, whose demo I recently covered, and had a comparative style. A scene in the making? I've no idea, but Through the Shadows is a pretty huge step forward in sound quality and songwriting from its own predecessor, surpassing it on all fronts, and professional enough sounding that I'd be shocked if the band was not on the threshold of some label attention.
Where the prior release suffered somewhat from a swollen, overlong composition, the four tracks on this EP are more compact and manageable. They truly emphasize the 'death' elements here in addition to the doom, with massive guttural vocals in the vein of Dan Swanö, or earlier Jonas Renkse before his Katatonia cleans. The melodies are lush and mesmerizing, and the low-end chords simply crush the listener despite their own inherent simplicity. I felt that the progression of the EP was a fraction misleading, since they have the heaviest track up front, a brutal chug fest called "Into the Arms of Grief" which branches off into these beautiful, eerie harmonies, and a lurching atmospheric bridge with some spectral tremolo picking. The remainder of the tunes are cast in a sadder pallor, lurching along beneath the weight of their storming, sorrowful melodies, double bass rolls, clean guitars with whispered dementia vocals; but all are consistent in quality, and the 8 minute finale "The Burial" has these beautiful, ringing clean guitars and tribal drums that build steadily unto the climax.
You won't find a lot of complexity here, since it doesn't really suit the style, and I can't say that the heavier riff patterns feel all that unique or intensely memorable, but Through the Shadows all comes together like a suicide pact on an empty landscape, and the emotional restraint of the varied sequences is well arranged so that the songs never become dull. Even the cover art is a stride above simplistic like a child's painting, but beautiful, its color scheme matching the mood of the music completely. All of this, and the fact that the EP is available as a 'name your price' download on the band's site should compel ardent followers of modern, atmospheric death & doom to pursue this; in particular, fans of Isole, October Tide, (early) Katatonia, or Finland's Swallow the Sun and Insomnium will enjoy the band's enormous tone, and their infallible balance between eloquence and power.