When a leaf falls, it is never a significant act by itself, but it carries with it the gorgeous symbolism of change and renewal- eventually, leaf after leaf will depart to reveal a raw tree stripped of its excesses, yet still standing as a jagged obelisk of wonder. So it is with Sweden's Fall of the Leafe, who gingerly dropped from the tree of melodic death metal to a more stripped-down blend of gothic rock, grunge, alternative, and traces of their earlier sound - a leaf that did not fall, perhaps.
Aerolithe is the third album of this new style and it does not disappoint, leading listeners on a tightly constructed path of personal woes and glories that hits you at your core with anathemic exuberance. Fall of the Leafe know how to plumb the depths of feeling by sticking to swirling melodies, very personal vocal delivery, and moody crunch.
The emotiveness in Tuomas Tuominen's singing reminds of Live's Ed Kowalcyzk set amidst a more metallic background, which is just excellent. Many of the songs begin immediately with his prosaic artistry, phrasing his lines as if you, the listener, know him and his background well enough to be immersed in his world right away. Listening to him sing is like lending a supportive ear to a best friend.
Though most of the album is atmospheric, you sense the band's tough side on songs such as "Look into Me", where Tuomas suddenly erupts into a throaty growl with a few thrashy underriffs and menacing drum triggers. Still, whenever the band shows any side of toughness, it's only to make the music more dynamic. The music breathes like a living creature under duress.
As the album begins with intrigue, so it gently fades with the same intrigue...inviting you calmly to experience Fall of the Leafe's next revelations.
2. All the Good Faith
3. Drawing Worry
5. At a Breath's Pace
6. Graceful Retreat
7. Sink Teeth Here
8. Minor Nuisance
9. Especially by Stealth
10. Look into Me