Fall of the Idols
posted on 5/2008 By:
Slice it traditional, epic, sludgy, stoner or funeral, I'm a doom lovin' sumbitch. Of course whatever particular branch of the genre happens to be popping my wood at any given moment depends greatly on my current mood, which, over the past several months, has been surprisingly shiny. Such positivity in my environment lately has consequently steered my doom allegiances closer to the less gloomy variety. But, as we all know, life has a funny way of throwing a wrench in the works every now and again, and it did just that to me recently for reasons I'll obviously not get into here and now. I will say this, however: I am a vessel through which grief travels very, very easily, and it's because of this that sorrow-stricken music of all varieties has played an important role in my life, even from a very young age. In a strange way, not only does it speak to my nucleus, but it also drapes me with a comforting familiarity of sorts. Which brings us to this little record right here...
The Seance, Finland's Fall of the Idols' second full-length, finds the band treading a much darker path compared to what was delivered with 2006's excellent Womb of the Earth. To the undoomed ear the difference is likely negligible, but those in the know will very quickly notice the instant the funereal cloak of "Nosophoros" settles upon their world; something terribly dismal seems to have happened to these guys since '06, and that anguished misery is seeping through every pore of this record in the form of toiling tunes chiefly woven from a funeral doom loom. "Nosophoros" (8:47), "My Home the Gallows" (11:25), "Cathedral of Doom" (6:59) and "An Age Comes to Its End" (10:59) all slog slower than anything the band has done to date, and it's exactly this that stands as the most noticeable difference between this record and the band's inaugural full-length. The doleful riffing eulogized at the heart of the opening cut is every bit as fitting of a funeral march as anything I've heard from the Equilibrium days of Cathedral or the very early works of Candlemass. And the utterly joyless knelling of bells that seamlessly meld with the heavy-hearted beginning of "The Conqueror Worm" are only eclipsed by the absolutely crushing manner in which the tune grievously ends. In short, The Seance is a mother-fucking bummer of a record. The kind of bummer that indulges potential gloomsters such as yours truly, but repels chipper chuckleheads who find doom of this ilk to be "too boring" or "too dreary" for their tastes.
When The Seance is slightly faster -- the midpoint of "The Conqueror Worm" and the entirety of "At the Birth of Human Shadow" and "Cold Air" -- things are little more direct compared to what was found on the previous endeavor. Gone are the more experimental moments that drew comparisons to The Doors (i.e. the rain-soaked "The Walk" from Womb of the Earth), leaving the only remaining semblance to that band being vocalist Jyrki's slightly Jim Morrison-esque delivery at times.
Production wise, things are still pretty much in line with what fans have come to expect from the band; The Seance sounds as if it's being delivered from the great halls of an ancient, concrete castle. All instruments are mixed fairly equally, but because Fall of the Idols boasts three guitarists, the mighty riff has a tendency to obscure the bass and vocals at times. The production also has a hand in making the superb lead guitar work seem more delicately spun within the backdrop, but I guarantee after repeated listens these solos will skulk their way deep within your marrow; there's some beautifully bereft lead work here that certainly stands as one of strongest selling points of this fine album.
Props to one of doom's more promising young acts for once again delivering the bereavement goods with The Seance. This record is an ideal companion for those who bask in misery or vent their sorrow by channeling music rich with gloom. I'd certainly say this is one case where you can take as needed for pain and not worry about getting addicted. Chalk up another win for Fall of the Idols.
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