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The superstructure doesn't hold. - 60%

robotiq, May 2nd, 2021

Fall Silent were an intense metallic hardcore band with harsh vocals and with drumming that was influenced by Florida death metal. They were good, and made an excellent debut album ("No Strength to Suffer"). This kind of intensity is difficult to maintain and they began to run out of ideas on their second album. This one was released on a Belgian label (Genet), an odd choice for an American band playing a 'desert core' style (like Unruh and Enewetak). Their label choice meant that "Superstructure" was well distributed through the European hardcore networks. I often found copies of this record at shows and on the distro lists. This was the first Fall Silent record that most of us in Europe ever heard.

Let's start with the positives. "Superstructure" is even more intense than the debut. The first two tracks are raging. "Great White Death" is the most distinctive song on the album, and is somewhat of an anomaly. The vocals are more varied compared to the rest of the album, less harsh and more inspired by old school hardcore. This song almost sounds like a late 90s equivalent of crossover thrash. It is a good option for anyone looking for a successor to the hyper-aggressive, fast style of bands like S.O.D. or Cryptic Slaughter. This was released a couple of years before bands like Municipal Waste resurrected crossover thrash, so Fall Silent deserve credit here. The second song, "One More Question", is awesome too. It is more complex and metallic, but equally catchy. Both tracks climax with chanting vocal lines which are the mainstay of great hardcore ("Great white death, the horror!" and "Just one more question, your honour!" respectively).

The album nosedives from there. The rest of the songs feel one-dimensional and have few hooks. The level of intensity remains, but there is little other than intensity. Fall Silent's debut succeeded because the song-writing was varied and emotionally resonant. "Superstructure" doesn't capture the same feeling. The crunchy metallic sound of the debut is diminished here, as the band plays straighter and faster. The production is clear and brash. It sounds grating after a while. The bass is loud, reminding me of what Korn did a few years beforehand. This isn't inherently a bad thing, but I'm not sure I like it here. The keyboards are still here, as are the film samples (in abundance), there is even a hip-hop section on one song ("Courtesy"). The band may have been attempting a 'sound collage' effect with this record, but it doesn’t work as well as Chokehold’s “Content With Dying” from four years earlier.

“Superstructure” has always left me cold. It is superficially impressive but difficult to love. I feel the same way about it now as I ever did. The dreadful cover artwork doesn’t help, giving no clue about what the record will sound like. I didn't learn to appreciate Fall Silent until I bought the "Six Years in the Desert" compilation (on a whim). That early material is warmer and sounds more natural than “Superstructure”. I don’t think there are enough good songs here to recommend listening to this second record in full. The first two songs are well worth hearing, and they would have made for a brilliant seven-inch. Creating a full album of music like this is more difficult. I don’t think Fall Silent succeeded this time around. Listen to the first album instead.