Four years ago, six-piece funeral doom Metal band Faal, from Breda, South Netherlands, released their first album, 'Abhorrence Salvation'. They are back again with the excellent 'The Clouds Are Burning'. Soundwise, the band's music is mainly doom Metal oriented but with touches of black Metal and post rock.
'The Clouds Are Burning' consists of four songs, which doesn't seem much but with the exception of one, 'The Insistence's Wish', all are way past the ten minute mark, yet despite this epic length they manage to maintain your attention throughout. This is due to the outstanding quality of the tracks, all masterfully constructed with outstanding melodies, all encapsulated in a sad depressive atmosphere.
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There is a good variance of tempo throughout from slow to mid-range but the ever present depressive feel remains.
Pascal's and Alex's guitar work is effective throughout; the vocals from William are quite outstanding, ranging from a very deep growl to a mid-level scream and even some clean in the background. These serve to emphasise the doom laden atmosphere further, as does the synthesiser work from Yara. Martin's basswork is low key, enhancing the sound but never dominating, making for a very subtle overall effect.
'My Body Glows Red', the opener, is atmospheric and haunting to start, with a slow lamenting tempo, low growling vocals and higher pitched screams.
'The Insistence's Wish' opens on a deep growl, accompanied by lamenting synthesisers. The vocals continue in a deep growl with the bass and drums laying down deeper melancholic undercurrent.
My favourite track, 'Tempest', is catchy and atmospheric. I just love everything about it, as the most upbeat of the four tracks having a faster tempo, excellent vocals and the guitars have a slight distorted sound.
Ward's excellent drum work is more prominent in this track and the tempo change makes for interesting listening. It also has a black Metal feel to it which I like.
'The Clouds Are Burning', the title track and longest, is a slow builder with the first one and a half minutes barely audible but the volume builds gradually with very atmospheric low quiet growls and individual picked and distorted notes.
At the three minute mark intensity starts to really build as the haunting sadness really kicks in at about five minutes when the melancholic synthesiser, guitar, bass and drums all come together, along with the tortured growls. The intensity increases and is maintained pretty much to the end of the track. The last minute builds to a distorted noise which elevates in pitch until it stops suddenly; releasing your mind from its grasp.
The band's name originates from the Dutch word for fail, but it certainly doesn't apply to this band or album. This is an astounding album, in all respects and Faal deserve to be better known and with music of this standard, I am sure they will be.
The album is out now on Ván Records.