Thursday, November 18, 2010

Faleng - Ice Tomb [demo] (2010)

Ah, new funeral doom! What a rare and not often promising sight these days. Faleng are an unknown entity hailing from the Moscow area, and this seems to be their first (and hopefully not last) offering to the world. Ice Tomb opens with "Entering", building on the coldly beautiful and alien mood from the spectral caverns of the cover with a crystalline, drippy ambient piece; vapourous whispering accompanies the refracted sounds, indicating a lifeform or consciousness still exists in this tomb. Although it is for all intents and purposes an intro, "Entering" in no way feels like a brief step into the real album, providing an atmosphere that makes it wholly engrossing on its own.

"Mirror Ice" quickly discards these ambient fixtures for classic funeral doom, with the requisite heavy guitars, glottal vocals, and crashing drums, all swathed in loving reverb. For a demo, especially from a new, one-person band like Faleng, the production is quite good - clear, yet hefty and tangible. While the riffs are your standard unengaging funeral tradition, Faleng have still crafted a satisfying atmosphere for their doom. The vocals are excellent, partly whispered and nicely textured with decay, steeped in the low oxygen and brittle ice of their environ. The drums are a step up from most bands in this style, rich and slightly aggressive, providing a backbone of momentum to the frigid doom. A simple, mesmerizing clean melody floats above the frozen morass, only deviating from its short cycle halfway through the song. This is familiar fare to be sure, but there is a significant will behind it that indicates Faleng could become something to pay attention to.

"A Cave" leaves the listener lost amidst its emotionless, disorienting blend of phasing synths in another ambient piece, with drums pounding a doomed man's plod through its middle. Again, I find their ambient material very compelling - further exploration and incorporation of this into the metal songs would catapult their style ahead into far more interesting regions.

"Frozen Halls" is a twin of "Mirror Ice" in style and interest - it starts off well, but without tangible progression or atmospheric narration to latch onto, it's hard to sit through all the way. "Step Into the Unknown" ends the ep on its worst foot, with another similar metal song, this time instrumental and featuring an offputting clean melody that makes it a chore almost from the beginning.

I did not find this release to be exactly noteworthy, but I believe there is more potential here than in any other new funeral doom outfit I've heard in a while. I love the theme on this release, and the atmosphere is certainly there - if Faleng can work together the ambient and metal elements seen here more completely and remember to put some effort into those damn riffs, they'll be something to reckon with.

Verdict: Indifference [6/10]


autothrall said...

It sure looks purty...

is this your life? said...

Yeah, the cover is great. They make me think of ice dungeons in games, which I like. A lot.