Fall River - Lights Out Review |
by Mark Hensch
I'm sorry to say, but quite a while there any time I heard metalcore / hardcore / anythingcore the least I could do was turn my head and gag in disgust. So bland has the genre become, so watered down, that it is (in my opinion) only a matter of time before this particular bandwagon crashes into something and dies the death it deserves. Irregardless, that doesn't mean all hardcore / metalcore bands are bad; some in fact are decent and worthy of the attention of readers like yourself. Fall River is one of those bands. Innovative, unique, and surprisingly fun, this is the kind of music that will survive the era of chugging breakdowns and emotive bitching once its gone and passed.
Fall River's Lights Out is just under twenty-five minutes of rip-roaring, eadbanging excellence. The CD comes across as such a relief due to the unique sound the band peddles; Fall River sounds like a bunch of Entombed fans taking math classes in the filthiest college in Stockholm. At one moment, the band laces technical, mathy, and frenetic blasts of chaos ala The Dillinger Escape Plan, Fear Before the March of Flames, etc, and at others, the quartet knocks back riff after riff of dirty death 'n roll, the kind that would bring grins to the faces of the aforementioned Entombed. In reality, I'd say Fall River sounds like Every Time I Die meets complete, unbridled and technical anarchy. To further up the ante, the band's vocalist is a frontwoman by the name of Ali. Keeping the recent movement of strong female vocalists in metal/hardcore, Ali sounds about ten times better than most men I've heard. Her blistering screeches are right up there with the likes of Arch Enemy, Bloodline Calligraphy, and Crisis. All-in-all, this cornucopia of random innovation makes for a very interesting listen in Lights Out.
The music itself swings with the jittery, coked out fun that Fear Before do so well, all while nailing mathy guitars, weird time signatures, and the occasional headbanging moment of pure riffing. The band has mastered the art of sinking into a dirty groove and peppering it with jaw-dropping chords. Lean and mean, the songs are less music than the aural counterpart to a knife-fight in the bad side of town. The disc blazes by so fast that picking favorites is at times difficult, but its strong as a whole and a few songs really stick out in my mind as being better than the rest. Opener "My Heart, the Beggar" is a nice introduction to the band via off-kilter arrangements and messy rock grooves. Follow-up "The President has Been Kidnapped" sways with a confident, boozy rhythm and at one point lashes forward into a thrashy riff that kicks a whole lot of ass. "Cash Out" is probably the best song on the album and is pretty much an all-around kick to the face. The sinister, atmospheric grime of "Dead Ends and U-Turns" presents a solid breathing point amidst all the chaos and is so rocking that it just had to be mentioned. Hell, they even add a straight-up rock solo in there! Maybe it's just my liking of the end of roller coaster rides, but "DNA of a Liar" sticks out in my mind as a phenomenal closer to a strong disc. Lights Out is definitely not a call to fall asleep. Frenetic, angry, and a little schizoid, the whole bloody affair comes across as the next step in hardcore's evolution. Just as Everytime I Die has collected massive accolades for Hot Damn! and Gutter Phenomenon, so too could Fall River approach the podium and say "hardcore doesn't have to stagnate." Here's hoping they take the medal.
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Fall River - Lights Out
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