Thursday, November 17, 2011

Farsot - Insects (2011)

Farsot is one of the more esoteric, progressive black metal artists hailing from Germany in recent years, though I wouldn't dub them all that experimental or chaotic. They're known for balancing a well produced, traditional sound with several outside influences like folk and perhaps a tint of psychedelia, and their 2007 debut IIII utilized numerous ambient interlude tracks to break up the grislier pieces. With Insects, their sophomore through Lupus Lounge, I believe they've developed a stronger, more distinct sense of style to them which shines through in the songwriting, both in the value of their individual riffs and the overall consistency of the composition.

Perhaps my favorite element here is the bass, and how it swerves and grooves below the shining black sparks of the guitars to create this somber, engrossing haze that almost seems like a 'casual' contrast to the more serious, thrashing rhythms of the guitars. This is especially true of the opener, "Like Flakes of Rust" and the eerie, mesmerizing bridge of "Withdrawl". In truth, I don't find a lot of the core riffs here to be all that satiating, but the exceptions almost make up for their general lack of appeal. For example, "Like Flakes of Rust" has a lot of dull, predictable mute thrashing that leads up to this heavily atmospheric sequence at the 6 minute mark; and the disjointed, choppier rhythms of "Empyrean" take the passenger seat to the special effects and soothing, skyward vocals.

On several cuts, the band departs from metal altogether, like the tranquil and inviting acoustic instrumental "7" or the downward sloping mood-rock of the closer "Somnolent", but these are both well written enough and fit the color and atmosphere of the heavier works. The production and musicianship are all top notch; although they're never really playing any heavily complex, they get such a clean, polished edge to the material that accents its dynamic range. The vocals are admittedly pretty average, but they do incorporate cleans and backing vocals for variation. I also felt that a few of the tracks had a little fat to trim, as there were moments in the 10 minute "Empyrean" and 8 minute "Adamantine Chains" where attentions started to slip. In all, though, I'd say this readily tops their debut IIII, and the curious aesthetics on play might damn well appeal to fans of other, more progressive German bands of the niche including Secrets of the Moon, Klabautamann, Fyrnask, Kathaaria and Fjoergyn.

Verdict: Win [7.5/10]

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