Desolate Grief by FaalRelease date: January 26, 2018
Label: Ván Records
Faal’s third full length, Desolate Grief, wears its heart on its sleeve when it comes to mood. This is an album of downtrodden misery. First track proper is called ‘Grief’. Need I say more? Their sound breaks down into glacially slow riffing, with a good deal of heavy thrown in. The vocals consist of a rasping growl that complements the music very well. There’s a lot melody, with picked guitar lines that cast a nod in the post-rock direction, if only momentarily, and still framed within the whole ponderous doom lark. The air of intimidation and threat is never far away, however.
‘No Silence’ has an almost Paradise Lost feel (Icon era) that adds a more threatening atmosphere. It breaks in its second half with a more upbeat Candlemass-style interlude. The slow doom makes way for a very pleasing 80s-style death metal rumble that shows that Faal don’t play in the same gear all the time.
‘Evoking Emotions’ starts with swirling ambience and a slow, clean guitar line that then crashes into a huge dirty riff. The song builds from there – the agonised vocals add spectacularly to the atmosphere of downtrodden gloom and misery. Laugh a minute it is not, but true to its soul it most definitely is. The plodding riff is supplemented by a strummed chord that lifts the song and carries the listener to the end of this near-10-minute track.
Final track ‘The Horizon’ continues in heartfelt fashion but adds an extra layer of synth to the sound, which makes it rich and adds depth to the melancholy, and an extra dimension to the sound, along with a picked guitar melody.
This album won’t be for everyone, not even for every metalhead, but if utter despair and misery, plus the tag ‘funeral doom’, haven’t put you off then it’s worth a listen. At times I struggled to maintain interest because Faal, if anything, do tend towards the the monochromatic, ploughing a furrow that is, as I say, solid to its core but also unwavering in its approach. Muscianship and sound are unquestionably good, and there’s just enough variation to sustain the listener: I would have preferred a tad more variety, but that’s a personal point. This five-track album is available as a download and on cassette and may be worth a punt if you have a taste for slow, atmospheric doom.