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Strong, urgent style of ambient raw black metal - 90%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, April 6th, 2013

A very interesting release even if it has no official title, "(Untitled)" has a very strong and urgent style of raw black metal. The band Fell Voices is billed as a black metal act with ambient and drone elements in their music. Almost right from the get-go, the rhythms are full-on and powerful, and the guitars readily venture into riff and melody territories hitherto unknown in black metal - territories that, once you find them, you realise have always existed in that music. Changes of key add extra tension and mystery to the hard driving music which, through a mix of repetition, incessant tremolo guitar playing and forceful rhythms, take listeners to new and different levels of awareness. Now that's what I call trance music!

The first track is an excellent example of what Fell Voices are capable of: there's just no time for rest, the music urgently sweeps listeners along in its wake. The drumming is busy and helps to drive the music. Riffs may be repetitive for brief periods but once replaced by a new set, you don't often hear them again - although there is one near-deranged set of riffs that bookends the track (almost) and defines it. Reaching the halfway mark, the music slows down and the repetition becomes more insistent until the pace all but collapses and a point of singularity is attained with one guitar lethargically intoning one loop that threatens to fragment into isolated tones going up and down the musical scale. The tremolo lead guitar leads the other instruments into building up the track again. The whole 22-minute piece is a thrilling ride into some lesser known parts of raw, fast-paced and aggressive black metal with a slight atmospheric edge.

The second track is similar to the first track in its first half save for a dreamy and blues-tinged slow beginning. There is aggression aplenty and the urgency seems even greater than in the first untitled piece. Atmospheric effects are introduced in the fourth, very intense minute of playing and the guitars and drums make way for the cold blowing winds. The delirious tremolo guitars dominate the track along with insistent, never-ending drumming and near the halfway point turn up the level of intense emotion and feel for the music several extra notches. Vocal screams, usually far back in the track at the best of times, reach glass-shattering levels in their madness.

Beyond the halfway mark, the piece continues in its emotional intensity until a few minutes before the end where a level of absolute calm is attained. A fragile piano solo melody traces out the stillness of the nirvana reached here.

By the standards of Cascadian and US West Coast black metal, this is very outstanding and distinctive music in its passion, energy and intensity. Perhaps the lead guitar work might make the most impression in its relentless hypnotic looping repetition but the drumming, which could be more prominent in the mix, is a stand-out for its drive. The riffing is another stand-out in its conception and execution but even these would pass unnoticed were it not for the rhythms backing it up and the musicians' enthusiasm and belief. This is one album where the band's commitment to their music is absolute.

If you consider yourself a fan of ambient raw black metal, you should consider giving this recording your time of day.

An Exhausting Journey through Moist Forests - 86%

TikrasTamsusNaktis, January 17th, 2013
Written based on this version: 2010, 12" vinyl, Independent

Fell Voices are categorized as a drone/ambient black metal band. I can definitely see the Ambient black metal tag being placed under them but the drone tag not so much. For me at least, drone contains heavily down tuned guitars and a very very slow pace to the song. Sure Fell Voices does have some rather slow parts to their music I wouldn't consider them drone. On the other hand, ambient black metal could be the perfect description for that. There is definitely an incredible atmosphere that is created by this group. The album has a very raw and primitive feel to it and is a joy to listen to.

One of the reasons Fell Voices are a joy to listen to is the fact that the riffs that are used on this album not one of them is poor. They are all memorable. Fell Voices really like to pound the rhythm into your head by playing these passages over and over and over again. They are definitely one of the best black metal bands at creating a trance like atmosphere. The first song simply named "(untitled)" has a little more variation than the second song in terms of the different riffs and the changes of pace. Overall it is more aggressive and chaotic. The second track also called "(untitled)" is a song that definitely embodies the whole essence of creating a trance like atmosphere. The first half of the song goes along more like the first song but around half way through there is an eruption of super intense playing that finally concludes with a riff pattern that is repeated over and over again for the next several minutes. Now I want the listener to close their eyes at this point for the rest of the song. This is probably the best example of "trance inducing black metal" at this point that I have ever come across. It is absolutely phenomenal. It is hard to describe. I find myself closing my eyes and drifting off and bobbing my head to the steady repetition. It eventually picks up to an extent where the drums come back in very viciously and then it all dies down and ends with a sombre piano piece at the very end.

Another amazing thing to note about Fell Voices is Mike their drummer. Now if anyone has ever imagined what their favourite imaginary metal band line up would be this relatively unknown Mike guy would easily be my hands down number one pick. From some of the incredible fills to the intense aggression that he unleashes on the kit is insane. Just watch some of the videos of Fell Voices playing live. He is the most intense drummer I have ever seen. Every time he hits the kit it is like he is hitting it as hard as he can. I don't know how he has the strength to play songs of this length. It is superhuman. On top of that he is one of the vocalists in the band and live he just screams over everything. No Mic. Now obviously a mic was used to record this album but just keeping that thought in the back of your mind as you are listening to this album is amazing.

Overall Fell Voices are one of the best "Cascadian black metal" bands and possibly the most unique. The way they can manipulate and induce trances in the listener is second to none in the black metal community in my opinion. This is definitely an excellent listen and highly recommended if you can get your hands on it.