Release DetailsLABEL Firebox Records
RELEASED ON 7/18/2007
Fall Of The Leafe
posted on 7/2007 By:
The opening track to Fall of the Leafe's latest ode to weepy goth metal, creatively titled "Opening," nearly had me on the floor laughing. God...what an easy way to a premature death. The introductory keys seriously sound like some cheap ass Casio knock-off bought at a garage sale in some small town in Indiana. And that's a long trip for these depressed Finns. It's too bad, really, because the rest of the album is too good to deserve such a crash and burn opener.
By all accounts, Aerolithe is a very strong album. Much in the same way the last album, Vantage, was a collection of well-crafted songs, Aerolithe just kind of floats in that organic, progressive and nearly touching way that seems to come natural to bands like Fall of the Leafe, Katatonia and, to a lesser extent, Lacrimas Profundere. Of course, changing very little between two recordings can result in some mud-slinging, namely the popular belief that too many bands become stale by doing so, but I think there is a deserved universal respect in establishing a distinct sound and producing a collection of music that honors that sound.
Gracing the band's sixth full-length as always is the talented Tuomas Tuominen, who manages to stretch his vocals to an even greater extent than Vantage. His ability to go from a smooth sing-song voice to a sharp, guttural shout in such a quick fashion always impressed me, and it impresses me even more here, especially on "At a Breath's Pace," where the simpler song structure gives Tuominen more room to show off. The guitar duo of Jussi Hanninen and Kaj Gustafsson gives him that familiar light, majestic and almost ethereal template to work with, and there's enough ragged edges in the riffs to make this an interesting and complex recording.
What really defines this band to me is its hooks, and while there are plenty here I do wish some had a little more weight. What will always keep this band from reaching Katatonia like stature in my mind will be its inability to write consistently catchy material that sticks to you long after the first few listens. "Graceful Retreat" and "Minor Nuisance" come close, but there's no "My Twin," "Evidence" or "Teargas." I don't blame it on the vocal hooks so much as the lack of truly inspired riffs. If anything, the music is just a little too busy and progressive to sound catchy.
As accessible as they are, Fall of the Leafe will probably always have an unchanging audience, both in size and palette. Thus the most applicable question here is will the band fulfill the wishes and desires of that unchanging audience. As with Vantage, the answer is yes. As long as Tuominen is in the band, Fall of the Leafe will have a strong voice in the goth metal scene.
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