Art of Falling
Extending Behind This Shape
posted on 3/2006 By:
The latest thing to come out of Switzerland (besides near daily fucking updates about the upcoming Celtic Frost album/tour--RELEASE the damn thing, already) is new kids Art of Falling. Although the band name and album title hint that we might be enduring some mealy mouthed metalcore outfit, Art of Falling is yet another band worshiping in the house Neurosis built. Jebus, where are all these guys coming from? In spite of the fact that this genre has produced some of my favorite albums of the past couple years, one gets the distinct feeling that the saturation point is upon us. The last record to really blow my hair back was Minsk’s debut, and everything since has been solid or slightly better, although the bottom line is that they’ve done little but pull down the class average. It’s the same old song (so to speak) with Art of Falling. Extending Behind This Shape is a completely passable entry into the post-metal canon, especially considering it’s just a first effort. There’s little to criticize and quite a bit to enjoy, but nothing that’s gonna get you all hot and bothered.
Here’s the issue--The bands that have made the best music in this genre–Neurosis, Isis, Pelican, Cult of Luna, etc. have done so thanks to an exceptional talent in both sculpting palpable atmosphere and constructing dynamic, highly textured songs using opposing tensions. Again, not just talent–exceptional talent. The problem with some of these latest efforts is that not only is the blueprint becoming all too familiar--enjoyable, but familiar nonetheless, the bands struggle to keep pace with the giant steps of those more established artists. They’re quality bands, just not world-beaters. Not yet, anyway. Art of Falling DOES however show flashes of promise that might help them move from the middle of the class to join the pack of frontrunners. On the whole Extending Behind This Shape exhibits, relatively speaking, an average quality in the mood building and massive crescendos that are the meat and potatoes of the genre, but there are moments in several songs when the band takes a particular angle or transition that makes the listener pay attention with renewed interest. Try as I might, I can’t get lost in Extending Behind This Shape, which is exactly what I’m looking for in an album like this, but these moments pull me closer, and a more consistent effort would have the enveloping, lush, captivating effect that’s the allure of this style. During the heavier passages Art of Falling has a bite like Cult of Luna, but during the clean, melodic moments the band sounds closer to Isis-like post-rock. Vocals are delivered with a hoarse, consistently aggressive approach. There are songs with more rewarding sections, but the best track overall is the second one, “1 KM From”, which uses interesting layers of busy snare work and a quickly strummed riff contrasted with slower, ringing melodies. This drumming, and intermittent tribal patterns, shows up in several of the most interesting sections of the album. The band keeps things short and sweet, using three and half to seven and half minute songs, rather than the winding, marathon approach used by many of their peers.
Extending Behind This Shape isn’t one of the most original or accomplished albums the genre has to offer, but at the same time, the band does deliver satisfactorily on the things that you’d hope to hear. Fans of this ballooning movement will find much familiar and little to criticize. This satisfactory debut effort won’t quite create the stir that Art of Falling is looking for, but it has numerous bright spots that indicate that the band's best work is still to come.
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