June 16, 2015

False - Untitled (2015)

By Matt Hinch. I like to think that False named their band thusly as a big middle finger to all the agoraphobic pimple-farmers who actually give a shit about trooness. I couldn't give a rat's ass where a band is from or
By Matt Hinch.

Album art by Nicole Sara Simpkins

I like to think that False named their band thusly as a big middle finger to all the agoraphobic pimple-farmers who actually give a shit about trooness. I couldn't give a rat's ass where a band is from or how lo-fi their production is, or whether or not they use keyboards. Okay, maybe I do care about keys but if I like them I like them. And in the context of False, I like them.

As opposed to other, more symphonic bands False know how to utilize the keyboards in a way that compliments the bleak, raging black metal without ever trying to dominate the sound. Those times when the keys do find their way up in the mix are done with purpose and don't overstay their welcome. So when it comes to Untitled (the LP not the EP) it becomes difficult to articulate the glorious majesty the band displays. This release feels more focused (despite epic lengths), more determined, more driven by the cold fire that burns remorselessly into your very soul.

Photo by Carmelo Española.

Swarming across your senses for a hour Untitled's main tone is one of abject desperation and helplessness. Like it needs to escape. It is always in motion, whether that's through furious tremolos or shifting into doomier movement depends on the moment in time. A time which stops completely when False are given the focus they so richly deserve.

As a good opening track should “Saturnalia” encapsulates all the elements that go into the whole album. The manic black metal kicks in hard and early with subtle keyboard washes turning a little bizarre, eventually setting the mood as the track slows to a crawl and the guitars give the keys room to breathe. “Saturnalia” eventually rises from those doldrums (atmospherically speaking) on an even more windswept path. One can feel the power and fight but also a painful intensity that carries into the other four tracks.

Photo by Carmelo Española.

“The Deluge” continues the bleak and chaotic journey with ruthless rhythms yet at times switches from straight-line determination to an almost jaunty feel, like moments of clarity, or rather, the innocence of insanity temporarily dragging you to untold depths of despair and loathing.

The final two tracks “Entropy” and “Hedgecraft” clock in as the longest with the former breaching 15 minutes. It has an easier lead in but still rages as hard as any. It's also one instance of the use of choral vocals, as well as stunning riffs appearing out of nowhere to confound the listener with their ability to not only flatten soundscapes but also build them up.

Photo by Carmelo Española.

The seed of anguish and helplessness is injected deep on “Hedgecraft” with razor-sharp tremolos needling into soft flesh. It's by far the most emotional track. The haunting melodies lurking like shadows in contrast to the phenomenal and frantic percussion are enough to bring one to tears. For all that however it's also bloodthirsty and terrifying. Here, as in general, the emotional weight is held by the instruments but the vocals, however indecipherable, are essential. The reptilian rasps grip like talons around the now completely exposed listener, ready to rip their head off and drink of their flowing essence.

The way the track builds into a heartbreaking and complete catharsis is near overwhelming. Everything comes together in a dense ball of bass-led intensity only to instantaneously unravel and drift into atoms.

Untitled leaves the listener spent but in a state of black metal bliss. Anyone who's followed the Minnesotans already know what they are capable of and False more than deliver to expectations. Melody, atmosphere, menace, speed, turmoil and compelling songcraft position False as leaders in the USBM scene and Untitled as one of 2015's black metal victories.

Tagged with 2015, black metal, Carmelo Española, False, Gilead Media, Matt Hinch
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