Vigilance Perennial by Falls of RaurosRelease date: March 31, 2017
Label: Bindrune Recordings / Nordvis Produktion
US black metal has consistently been something I’ve gravitated toward in recent years; its defining acts have collectively produced records that stand as personal favourites in the genre at large. Portland, Maine’s Falls of Rauros are one of these examples, notably with their release The Light That Dwells in Rotten Wood. Perhaps biased as this was the first release of theirs that I caught wind of, this record still embodies the ideal example of how to marry hard-hitting flurries of black metal with elevating folk passages. This and their more blistering debut displayed the bands masterful ability to retain a level of aggression with layers of riffs and drums and emotional engagement with breath-taking melodies.
With Vigilance Perennial, the band are putting forward a continuation of their 2014 effort Believe in No Coming Shore, a record which saw the essential framework of their sound being emphasized in terms of more expansive melodies and dramatic acoustic passages. This most recent effort sees this direction expanded on, but is no less as impactful as its predecessors.
Each Falls of Rauros record has not been without its epic atmosphere; it’s as if it could unfold on the silver screen, a fully immersive experience both sonically and emotionally. ‘White Granite’ couldn’t be more of a perfect opening for this, the track is laced together with memorable acoustic guitar licks and explosive black metal tremolos that fluctuate the pace of the track. The seamless transitions from the tender instrumentals to the soaring drum and riff work is astounding, a continuously impressive aspect of the band’s output. This track’s bursts of instrumental density create this atmosphere that both totally drowns you whilst also elevating you. Similarly, with ‘Arrow & Kiln’, the band uses these elements to craft the record’s magnum opus; the track weaves between a myriad of passages featuring everything from solos to incredibly heavy and climbing black metal instrumentation. It’s multifaceted and memorable, but above all completely absorbing.
The bulk of the record is essentially divided into 2 parts by a short, acoustic lead piece, ‘Warm Quiet Centuries of Rains’. The track is aptly named, as the interlude is stunning and calming amidst the epics that surround it. The closing piece ‘Impermanence Streakt Through Marble’ provides the final and most prominent example of what Falls of Rauros have managed to achieve at this point in their musical output. The intertwined acoustic melodies and atmospheres surface seamlessly throughout this track densely layered instrumentation. Dramatic and tightly performed, it rounds off the project nicely.
This album is a definite continuation from its predecessor, so in terms of themes and sounds throughout this project there is nothing inherently new being presented. This isn’t a hindrance on Vigilance Perennial however, as I believe any listener would come away from this with their thoughts provoked as with any monolithic cinematic experience.