False
Portent

I’m unfamiliar with female fronted Minnesotan black metal act False, but seeing as their second effort was released on the usually reliable Gilead Media, who recently dropped the magnificent third Falls of Rauros album, I though Id give this a go. And what I was greeted with was some fantastic 90s styled , Scandinavian semi symphonic black metal that imbued the likes of Emperor , Dissection, Abigor, Old Man’s Child and such with a dash or more modern post black metal such as the aforementioned label mates Falls of Rauros.

The 4 song, 41 minute affair is a patient, rewarding listen with the many highlights buried in the 10 to 16 minute tracks  (there is a 1.5 minute instrumental outro) , but you have to dig for them. The keyboards not full on Dimmu Borgir, but are more subtle, but have an airy majesty akin to Ihsahn’s work on the seminal In the Nightside Eclipse, adding a swirling solemn background aura to the epic-ness, like ayrialo borealis swirling magnificently in the background of of a pitch black, frosty northern night The guitars are brittle but effectively deliver the tremolo picked melodies and occasional introspective bridges. The howling vocals of Rachael are effectively hawkish and witching, even if they lack a real cadence and are a bit monotone.

The first two tracks deliver that Emperor ish majesty with a austere on point delivery but on 11 minute opener “A Victual to Our Dead Selves”, about three and a half minutes in the band deliver a stunning riff that made my hair stand on end and instantly elevated the album from solid 90s black metal worship to something much more special. The same can be said for second track , the 16 minute “Rime on the Song of Returning”, where again, about three minutes or so into the blistering, regal atmospheric black metal, False deliver another simply stunning riff to die for, this time a slower, waltzing riff that crescendos into a shrill, Liturgy-esque climax, signalling these guys have ‘it’, when it comes to crafting searing but memorable metal riffs.

The 16 minute “The Serpent Sting, the Smell of Goat” has the difficult task of building on the high points of the amazing prior duo, but manages to at least come close after a long ebb and flow that takes a while to get going with a more restrained gait and mood. But at the song’s 9 minute mark it takes a somber, moody turn that slowly builds and builds in urgency before eventually exploding in an gorgeous, arpeggio filled blast that takes the song to its breathtaking climax, especially that last two minutes…. phew. Closer “Postlude” is a throwaway mint and a half piano epilogue.

Between these guys and Northwind Wolves, the golden era of 90s symphonic black metal looks to have a solid US base and future signalling portents of  even more great things to come…

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
September 4th, 2019

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