Fall Of The Bastards
Dusk Of An Ancient Age (Reissue)
posted on 1/2009 By:
So, I basically blindly signed up for this as I knew that US viking metal act Oakhelm was formed from the ashes of Fall of the Bastards, but knew nothing about the actual band or this release itself.
Formed in 2000 and with two albums and two splits under their belt, Portland’s Fall of the Bastards is no more, but if this re-issue of 2004's Dusk of an Ancient Age is any indication, Fall of the Bastards could well have been one of the US's best kept black metal secrets, plying a sort of epic, melodic but scathing form of blackened war metal that reminds me of early Epoch of Unlight and Forest of Impaled delivered with an almost Eastern European sense of pagan pride and authenticity.
I can’t say if the 8 tracks have been re-mastered or anything, but on their own merit, they are all blistering examples of pure and raw but also cleanly played melodic black metal that’s both feral and epic and you can see the groundwork for what would eventually be Oakhelm’s take on viking black metal. The vocals are a mix of black shriek and a rough death metal roar, but the music is predominantly a tremolo picked scythe of a very slightly pagan/nordic style, delivered with a clean but frosty and primal tone.
From opener “In the Midst of Obsolete” to acoustic closer “Dawn (The Morning After),” Fall of the Bastards display a grasp of dynamics and melody that many US black metal acts simply can’t deliver honestly without forcing the issue or completely aping their European peers, and while the material does have a European vibe as I mentioned before, it still has its own character. “Intrinsical Lost” has a perfectly balanced melodic trot and exploding seething melody while “Put to Death II” and the 30 second “Signs of an Impending Apocalypse” are black/death assaults. “Angelrot” and “Otherwise Blank Expression” probably encapsulate the overall sound of Fall of the Bastards succinctly, while "Idiot Parade” has a thrash backbone under the galloping harmonies.
In all a very nice re-issue, one that is actually worth it despite a lack of additional material as when the original material is this solid, there’s no need to dress it up with useless, bad quality demo tracks or needless photo galleries.
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