Bringing together two fine exponents of dark US and Italian metal: vocals by John Suffering from Chalice of Suffering and Solemn Echoes, and musical contributions from Tulleo Carleo of Voyage Noir – Forever Falling imbue sadness. Weighted, pervasive and beautiful is the sorrowful pallor that wraps their debut release “Suspended Over the Immanent.” It is sure to please if doom is your pleasure.
“Bless this Floor” opens with simple and gentle piano supported by some beautifully executed, airy synth-strings that take the listeners hand, hushing him and leading him or her finger-to-lips into the darkness. This intro creates a serene yet vaguely tense reverie from which all else will flow. Forever Falling announce themselves with a considered beauty, chillingly eroded by what seems the disjointed buzzing of a dying fly: a desperate insect grasping at a life all too brief.
You want atmosphere? You’ve come to the right place.
“Dark Friend,” takes a wonderful musical turn into its verse, echoing “Disintegration” era The Cure in sound and melody. The elongated funereal form can sometimes miss its mark, losing interest where another texture or part may have lifted it considerably but Forever Falling do an excellent job of providing the listener with just enough to make the journey as interesting as it is somber.
To this Grouchy ear the processing of the clean vocal feels an odd creative choice on occasion, but such a choice should be all the more reason to explore this album. The crucial point is that the vocal impart emotive content and it would be very difficult to argue that it doesn’t. The clean and spoken vocals are restrained to the point of hopeless frustration, as is the music. This restraint feels the key feature of this release: it is echoing a creeping, dark feeling that will not be shaken. Depression is not something to be quipped about glibly, but having had the displeasure of battling the black dog, Your Grouchy Friend will say that the forced restraint and unshakeable darkness of this album capture those battles.
On the other side of the vocal fence, the gravelly, drawn out guttural is pervasive and menacing. It is particularly effective when understated – John Suffering pulls it right back to a suspended, murmured growl that imparts the sort of idiosyncratic element that allows listeners to fully connect with bands as more identifiable offerings.
A booming monolith of tension, breaking for spoken lamentation supported by clean arpeggios and strings, “Nightmare” is driven subtly by the melodic bass guitar in places, which produces a satisfying feeling of motion. The strings serve their purpose in building tension with their droning, but perhaps could have gone to another level by helping to guide the melodic flow. The devil of musical textures such as these wide open soundscapes are in the details, and the strings are used as static chord structures that shift rather than being formed by flowing individual elements. The guitars function in such a flowing fashion from time to time, indicative of the musical leanings of the composers – the string arrangements may have benefited from such an approach to embellish the flow and motion of the compositions.
The song perhaps most emblematic of Forever Falling is the brooding “Only Emptiness.” The sparse arpeggio and excruciatingly withheld drum pattern are a perfect landscape for the stark and effective spoken word vocal. These sections give way way to huge guitar and growling vocal, then later lifting string and piano melodies that both fit the mould well. To repeat a theme, the restraint of these tunes can be at times agonising, but that is precisely the point of this genre as an echo of life: Moments of promise falling short of delivering the release so desperately craved.
“…but, there was just darkness.”
“Suspended Over the Immanent” is a very strong debut album that reaches some real heights of precision and creativity. Massive, wide open, emotive slabs of doom-laden trudge that are sure to hit the mark for lovers of slow and dark paeans. As touched on above there are some areas that may have benefited from a more melodic approach to string harmony, but reviewing what is not there can be a very slippery slope, so the focus on what is there is prudent, particularly with respect to a pain-stakingly crafted album such as this. What is there is a series of ultra-dark compositions that will speak to many in important ways.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Suspended Over the Immanent” is slated for release on the 20th of September, just a couple of days away. Click through for album sales on the links below.