Italy’s Falaise is a fairly new band, having formed only about a year ago. The post/atmospheric black metal group released their debut full length ‘As Time Goes By’ independently in April of 2015 as a digital download. Aeternitas Tenebrarum Musicae Fundamentum added to the band in their roster through their A Sad Sadness Song imprint, and is giving the album its first physical release in early September with new artwork. A specific date that the CD will be available should be announced in the year future, but earlier in the week ATMF made the material available digitally once again and we’re pleased to have the opportunity to present you with a full stream of ‘As Time Goes By’ below.
This is a lengthy album, spanning over an hour in length, and that allows the melodies and build-ups to reach sprawling levels of atmosphere. Comprised of two individuals, with Lorenzo Pompili handling all of the instrumentation and Matteo Guarnello providing vocals, as you make your way through it can sometimes be hard to believe that not only is this the work of only two people but also that it is such a new project. Compared to some of the others out there that have attempted this type of sprawling black metal that creates a somber, bleak sound, Falaise comes off as a bit more developed and is able to stretch their ideas out in a way that fully absorbs the listener in its layers rather than feeling overly drawn out. Though quite a few of the songs follow a similar build-up in how they get to these shimmering melodic climaxes, they’re consistently stunning and the layers of instrumentation are capable of sending you off into a trance. My only major complaint would have to be the drumming, which is sometimes mixed so loud that it completely overpowers some of the other elements. It never completely derails the experience, but for a band capable of generating such a thick and overwhelming atmosphere it does seem a bit strange to have the drums break through that.
While the instrumentals weave layers of somber yet warm melodies that expand over top of the listener, Matteo Guarnello adds to the abrasive side of the recording with a harsh scream. Falaise has chosen to place him towards the back of the mix, which I’ve found to be fairly hit or miss for bands over the years. But it works perfectly throughout ‘As Time Goes By’, as it allows the screams to sound like they’re struggling to break free of the fuller soundscapes and makes the moments when they do have that much greater of an impact. You can hear the raw emotion coming out of every word that Guarnello screams, and the performance comes through in a way that the listener can truly connect to.
I’ve spent a good deal of time with ‘As Time Goes By’ over the past week, and the sweeping melodies that are both abrasive and warm have yet to lose my interest. Even though it runs for over an hour, Falaise has the songwriting ability to keep the listener under their spell and deliver their take on this dreary, personal variant of black metal. Despite the drums sometimes overwhelming the recording there’s a lot to like about what this band has released, and the fact that it came together so quickly after the project’s creation is impressive. ATMF has added another promising act to their roster, and it sounds like it won’t be long before we hear what the next chapter of Falaise will have to offer. ‘As Time Goes By’ is available digitally now with a CD release planned for early September.