Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Awesome Bands You Should Know... FALSE

FALSE is black metal band from Minneapolis, Minnesota that has, so far, only released 3 songs, but holy hell, they are 3 amazing jams. In a time, where there is almost no mystic to anything anymore, especially in music, FALSE is doing something different. Nowadays, every band in the world is on Facebook, Twitter, etc and informing fans of every fart they rip. Its even common now among black metal bands who claim to be super evil and grim. Its kind of humorous to imagine a dude in corpse paint & gauntlets tying on a computer at the local library to inform his 28 fans of his "infernal deeds". For a style of music like black metal where everything was supposed to be very much against the grain and confrontational, the aesthetics have essentially become just another image for people to pose with. That's why its refreshing that a band like FALSE has almost no internet presence. They dont have a band page, no facebook, no twitter, no nothing. The only shit you will find about FALSE online is either from other sources writing about the band or a bit on Gilead Media's web pages. They dont have their faces plastered everywhere with stupid promo pics, hell they dont even make their names public, but at the same time they dont make a big deal of hiding their identities. They dont wear corpse paint or spikes. They have no image. They are simply a group of people from Minnesota who have come together to make some blistering, killer black metal, and that its. They simply let the music doing the talking. FALSE's debut came in the form of "Untitled", last year through Gilead Media. "Untitled" was released only on 12" vinyl and via digital download. It features 2 songs, Side A is "The Key of Passing Suffering" and Side B is "Sleepmaker". I loathe the current overuse of the term epic, but there really is no better descriptor for these 2 jams, with both of them clocking in at well over 12 minutes each. The record starts off with a bang as they jump straight into the ruckus. They are able to easily marry crusty punk and viscious black metal, with brutal unhinged ferocity. However, they also are able to simulataneously be expansive and spacious with subtle use of synths as the song progressives further. This is exactly what makes FALSE so compelling they are able to find a middle ground between being primal, visceral & vile, but also being ethereal and otherworldly. They take the best of old school black metal, with a nice part of the progressive, avant garde wing of black metal and mold it into a sound of there own. The B side, "Sleepmaker" is another long blast of malicious intent. Its an unrelenting, violent attack for the first 5 minutes or so, before it breaks into a momentary respite that is depressive and melancholy. After the few moments to catch our break, FALSE return us the the hellish maelstorm. The vocals on both songs are harsh and brutal throughout without any mercy, as is comon in alot of BM. They are all screamed in a monsterous throaty snarl, but they never delve into cookie monster gutturals or super high pitched shrieking. They are also pretty clear compared to alot of vocals in black metal and extreme metal in general. Much of the lyrics are quite easily deciphered without a lyric sheet.
  Also of note, the vocalist in FALSE is a woman, although you probably wouldnt realize it by hearing her vocals. I only mention it because I think its a cool thing that they have a female vocalist, especially being a black metal band, but also because so many metal bands that have a woman in the band put alot of focus on her, & often sadly seem to try to use sex appeal as a marketing tool. This is not the case with FALSE, obviously, and makes their complete lack of image that much cooler. In some ways, FALSE reminds me of one of the most legendary of American Black Metal bands, San Francisco's WEAKLING. Weakling was also a pretty enigmatic band that had long songs that coupled hellacious intensity with somber sad moments. Unfortunately Weakling only released one album and then fell apart, hopefully FALSE sticks around alot longer. FALSE's "Untitled" album made quite an impact on me as well as a number of other black metal fans and critics, as it ended up on a number of Best of 2011 lists at year's end, including mine. Not too damn shabby for a band's debut that was only 2 songs. FALSE's "Untitled" record came with a patch and a button when ordered from Gilead Media, but I believe its now sold out, so unless they press more, you'll have to either get it from a secondary place or just buy the mp3's. So since its release the band has been doing some touring and from all Ive heard is super intense and just as amazing live, if not even more so. Sadly, I missed them when they were in Indy a few months back, but I wont make the same mistake again. The most recent release from FALSE came out this year, again through Gilead Media only on vinyl and digital download, in the form of a 12" split LP with the raw, lo-fi BM band BARGHEST, from Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Each band has one side of the LP, with FALSE's half containing just one song, the 17 & a half minute long beast, "Heavy as a Church Tower", while BARGHEST's side has 2 jams, "Shifting Sands" & "Inhuman Hatred". The first few minutes of "Heavy as a Church Tower" are a bit more restrained and not as ferocious in their opening as their previous efforts, these opening minutes are also instrumentals, with the vocals not bursting in for a few minutes, but when they do they signal the marked change of intensity as FALSE go on the attack, barreling full speed ahead for several minutes before slowing things down a bit, but even then they are never far away from blast beats and high velocity assualts. They also again make subtle use of synths that give the song an Emperor-esque granduer at times. This new track takes the visceral intensity of their debut, and couples it with a better command of atmosphere. It will be interesting to see where FALSE go from here. They have already set the bar quite high despite only releasing a total of 3 songs. Wherever they go, I can almost guarantee it will be worth checking out. In 2 short years, 2 releases, 3 songs, & about 43 minutes of music they have vaulted themselves near the forefront of the American Black Metal scene without any of the bullshit or marketing.
Andy Sweitzer

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