With enough issues at times to temper an overall enthused appetite for its intensive brew of death and thrash metal, Into The Black the new album from UK metallers Fallen Fate is a striking encounter reaffirming and stretching the already formidable emergence of the band. Hailing from the North East, the quartet sculpts a sound which merges a diverse array of metal bred influences into one squalling furnace of intensity and sonic imagination. Soaked in this attention grabbing mix, the band’s second full-length release forges a provocation which given deep attention provides a mouthwatering design and narrative but with that comes limiting aspects which suggest that Fallen Fate is still a project in evolution but one with a very potent future.
Consisting of vocalist/guitarist Lee Skinner, guitarist Piers Donno-Fuller, bassist Peter Hodgson, and drummer John Wright, Fallen Fate formed in 2005 and was soon honing a sound and presence which brought strong responses critically and from fans to their debut EP Revengance three years later. Soon their live presence enhanced their reputation with the band playing the pre-show of the prestigious Download Festival in 2010 to be followed a year later by a return to the Festival to play an invite only event on the 3rd Stage, Fallen Fate becoming the first unsigned band to play Donington 2 years in a row. Their first album The Virus Has Spread was released in 2011, again to critical acclaim, and soon followed by a UK tour in its support with Onslaught and Gama Bomb. Two more British tours came the next year as well as a taking to the stage at Bloodstock and the first Beermageddon Festival before the four-piece settled down to write their sophomore album.
The highly anticipated and again self-released Into The Black is a concept album providing a horror movie themed tale which vocalist Skinners reveals is about a girl called Vespa, going on to say “She [Vespa] chose a life without faith and over time became possessed by a demon. The demon slowly took over her body and ultimately led her to kill herself and her family. The drive behind the concept is to empower the listener to decide whether she was possessed by the Devil, as she has no saviour in her life, or if she was possessed by God, punishing her for her lack of faith.” It is a dark and tortuous decline with a creative weave of sounds creating a provocative soundscape and drama to the dark events unfolding within the narrative. A marked move on in craft and maturity from their first album, Fallen Fate creates in Into The Black, an absorbing evocative canvas of textures and emotions to wrap the inner story and keep the imagination fired up and hungry.
The Rise opens up the album, a brief emotive scene setter with haunting voices and melodic enticement gently surfacing within a building rapacious intensity. It brings the danger and dark tones soon to drench its successor, to a head just before Blackened Within explodes with an insidious breath and predacious intent, energy and sonic endeavour not far behind in malevolence and attractiveness. Immediately thoughts of Lamb Of God come to mind as the exciting guitar craft and rhythmic bombardment make a compelling persuasion whilst keys add potent evocative hues to the rampaging drama and the serpentine squalling vocals of Skinner scar and scavenge the senses.
It is a powerful entry into the black tale soon backed up admirably by the voraciously gaited Until The Final Hour and the transfixing title track. The first of the pair has a pestilential feel to its persistence and savage riffing but a savagery held in check by magnetic and resourceful melodic enterprise and sonic temptation. Its successor is a twisted annihilistic dance of intrigue and imagination which never sits still in rhythmic antagonism and melodic acidity. Like the previous pair it is a thoroughly pleasing and riveting track but also with the other two, beginning to reveal some of the ‘flaws’ of the album. Vocally Skinner again provides a causticity which matches the lyrical demons but his good delivery never deviates from what is overall a one dimensional assault which despite valiant backing vocals elsewhere impressing and helping add some tempering, over whelms the senses and at times appreciation as the release progresses. Equally there is a resemblance between many tracks which sees them flow into each other if not given careful attention. Musically the band certainly never fails the passions but that surface similarity does defuse the creative strength raging within songs in certain moments.
The imaginative Possession does provide plenty to break up that seeming lack of individualism if not to quite fire up the passions, though the following I Welcome The Dead and Rituals soon sort that out. With heavy handed rhythmic artillery punishing the ears from the off and soon entwined in a sonic weave of scorching medic tempting, the first of the two takes little time to launch a demanding and insatiable attack whilst continuing to vein it with bewitching sonic imagination and melodic incitement. Its successor opens with a demonic visitation within an emotive embrace before expanding a melodramatic grandeur around an enraged emerging scourge of intensity and technical rabidity. It is a ravenous confrontation with a persistent groove and hypnotic rhythmic bait.
The excellent Last Rites offers its own bordering on vicious technicality and imagination with again great backing vocals which are not heard enough on the album, before from its intro The Demise, final track Vespa provides a closing exhausting and lingering finale come epilogue to the encounter. It is a powerful conclusion to a fine album though one you also feel is a missed opportunity in some ways considering how magnificent the release is at its heights but fails to sustain it. Nevertheless Into The Black is easy to recommend to all melodic and extreme metal enthusiasts as an enthralling promise soaked release from a band in Fallen Fate which has the potential to be a sizeable creative force ahead.
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