Falls of Rauros
The Light the Dwells in Rotten Wood

Released the same time as the killer debut from label mates Obsiquiae, the third album from Maine’s Falls of Rauros was a bit overshadowed, which is a shame as it adds yet another quality album to the genre of woodsy, misty, organic black metal or ‘grey’ metal as I like to call it.

The cover alone should clue most listeners in what to expect here and those expecting nods to Agalloch will be satisfied as Falls of Rauros have a distinctly Pacific Northwestern feel despite hailing from Maine. Rangy songs of introspective black –ish metal full of atmospheric acoustics, delicate, damp moods, distant rasps and the occasional brittle black metal injection. As well as the expected Agalloch hues, I also (in part to the distant shrieks) get a bit of a HEart of the Ages era In the Woods, but don’t take it as a sheer comparison, just the woodsy, rustic feel of the music.

After the requisite atmospheric intro “Earth’s Old Timid Grace” the band launch straight into the albums best track, the 11+ minute “Banished” which wanders with a restrained but elegant pace, like a walk on the woods in Autumn. Foliage crunches underfoot and damp mists swirl around your feet. It’s all very ambient, to the point where you might need a parka to listen to it and you’ll start smell wet wood and dew. The acoustic start of “Awaiting the Fire or Flood That Awakes It” saunters into view next with a pleasant folky tone before segueing into a nice lengthy, moody, melodic stroll that become a more urgent jog and epic closure, showing Falls of Rauros do have a few teeth to bear.

However, with the opening 25 minutes of the album being of such a high, mesmerizing standard, the second half of the album (its only 6 songs) tends to be a bit average; you’ve got the acoustic interlude “Nonesuch River Chant”, surprisingly stern but somber “Silence” and instrumental closer “The Cormorants Shiver on the Rocks” (how’s that for natural?). All certainly continuing the overall flow and organic quality of the style, but partly due to two of the last tracks being instrumental, lacks the wow factor of the albums early stages.

Still though, while not a album of the year contender like Obsiquiae or Fen’s Epoch, Falls of Rauros has still released a fine album fitting of Bindrune’s excellent niche of rustic, organic and atmospheric black metal.

 

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
November 17th, 2011

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