Falls of Rauros – Patterns In Mythology (Gilead Media)Monday, 5th August 2019
Agalloch’s The Mantle casts a shadow that, unfortunately, my ears will probably never escape. It was still new when my own journey into the metal world began and it has been there every step of the way since. With the band’s unfortunate dissolution in 2016 I have since often sought things (intentionally or not) to fill the void left behind.
What does this have to do with Falls of Rauros? For a number of years, until 2014 during my year in Monterey that Believe In No Coming Shore demanded my attention and held it. The Light That Dwells In Rotten Wood remains a staple of my listening, with other releases flowing in and out from time to time. To a degree part of me held out that the band would release something to carry on the mantle of, uh, The Mantle.
NOPE. At least not this point in time.
Enter Patterns In Mythology, the work of a band working under an apparent new spirit and under the guidance of a new label (having jumped to Gilead Media). It’s a surprise for a number of reasons, for some elements of the band’s long-running sounds have been dialed back and others have been pushed spectacularly to the forefront. The ‘folk’ (read: acoustic) elements aren’t as predominant as they have been in the past and the focus here is instead on some fusional sound somewhere between southern rock guitar fireworks and a Krallice-like crafting of the black metal portions.
For examples of the former the listener need peek no further than early release track “New Inertia” and its many guitar-focused breaks between moments of vocal delivery or more traditional black metal jaunt. “Last Empty Tradition” (and its interlude-accompaniment “Renouvellement”) is nothing short of stunning in its beginning and throughout, taking flight readily. The guitar-focus (and the interplay between the guitarists) is more pronounced than ever on Patterns In Mythology and worth the price of admission alone.
In what is now a band standard 6 tracks and 45 minute run time, it’s not a difficult listen and I’ve been continually surprised with each return to it how welcoming it is as an experience. The acoustic elements aren’t as predominant and this doesn’t work against the experience as there are still many lush digressions and aside (with the occasional post- inflection) throughout. Closer “Memory at Night” crackles and seethes as much as it takes the time to reflect and soar before wrapping gently as the album began.
Surprises are great even when they’re terrible because it’s a showcase that most any expectation can be subverted and proven otherwise. Not that I had expectations for Patterns In Mythology to be a shoddy release (far from it) but the band has really delivered on a level I couldn’t have expected. It’s the sound of a band radiating in a place where no one else exists. It’s a stellar piece of work.