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Frayle > Skin & Sorrow > Reviews
Frayle - Skin & Sorrow

1692, Part II - 70%

Twisted_Psychology, September 27th, 2022

With the release of their second full-length, Frayle risks becoming a one-trick pony. Skin and Sorrow features the same tropes that defined the preceding 1692 with a mix of thick droning riffs, monolithic rhythms, and soft whispering calls delivering the melodies. This sort of Portishead doom remains a uniquely satisfying sound, but one wonders if it just can only be taken so far.

Much of that comes down to the songwriting, which is starting to frankly feel one dimensional at this point. There’s a solid understanding of dynamics at play with the drum patterns fluctuating in heaviness and the guitars feeling a little more exploratory than before, but it also feels like these songs are all plodding at the exact same tempo. As a result, these dynamics feel superficial and the vocals remaining unwaveringly ethereal regardless of the heaviness at hand makes the tracks feel interchangeable.

I’d hardly call any of these tracks bad, but they aren’t as memorable as anything from the previous album on top of a longer runtime. Songs like “Bright Eyes” and “Sacrifant” stand out for more exotic textures or a slightly more hustling drum beats, but they don’t quite have the hooks to make for true staples. I can also appreciate the predominately softer executions of the one-two closers “Song for the Dead” and “Perfect Wound,” but one still find themselves expecting these songs to lapse into their inevitable heavy drones.

Seeing how 1692 has been in regular rotation for me since its release, it’s unfortunate to see Frayle take a step back with Skin and Sorrow. The band’s doomy post metal style is still inherently neat with strong playing abound, but the songwriting would’ve benefitted from more tempo variations. Perhaps there could be room for faster breaks or more committed softer excursions. I can imagine Skin and Sorrow being an exciting listen if you’re listening to Frayle for the first time, but I find it to be an ultimately okay album with signs of diminishing returns.