|Inside the Fall' first Ep shows a lot of potential, alongside some technical flaws, making it a worthy curiosity rather than a must-have.|
Inside The Fall is a two-man project hailing from Bilbao, Spain: the reunion of a couple of old friends - Aitor Iglesias and David Nevado - both with considerable experience in the Death, Doom and Black Metal arenas. '...As Life Withers' is billed as their first mini-album, but technically and philosophically (as they're searching for a label) it's probably fairest to consider it as a demo and measure it against the benchmarks for that particular class.
It would certainly lose some marks if it was being taken as a full-fledged release: the production is a pretty murky affair, generally lacking in polish, and the final - unlisted - track is marred by a lot of crackling distortion. It's quite hard to make out much detail without boosting the treble to a point where everything begins to sound a little reedy. And while we're in the complaints department, I'm going to put one in for the vocals, which often struggle to deliver the ambitiously poetic lyrics: there are a lot of swallowed syllables and odd pronunciations to be found lurking in their hard-to-follow depths. A special mention has to go to the early part of 'Fallen Leaves Of July', for the use of an exquisitely annoying staccato sort of stutter to add to that sense of general incomprehensibility.
That, however, is about it on the negative side of the balance sheet. And it isn't all negative, by any means: demo-quality it may be, but at least it comes as a properly-packaged CD. The singing may be hard to follow, but the lyrics are all provided - which is how it's possible to tell that they are an interestingly romantic series of images, and stately in their use of vocabulary that wouldn't look out of place on a My Dying Bride sleeve. A little lacking in information about the band or the album, perhaps, but such anonymity is their prerogative.
Anyway, regardless of which parts and instruments each musician actually contributes, the net effect is a mid-to-fast-paced Melodic-based Doom with some unusual added extras: such as the chunky, Goth-Rock bass sound and the Hawkwind-esque tweeting, swirling keyboard effects, both displayed to great effect on 'Threnody At Dusk'. Having earlier criticised the vocals, I should qualify that as being limited to their lyrical presentation: the actual sound of both clean and growled (or, perhaps more accurately, snarled) voices and soft whispers is actually pretty decent and well-suited to the music. Add in some pretty catchy riffs and drumming that combines rhythm-keeping with some nicely creative flourishes and the resulting blend is one that shows plenty of promise.
There isn't really an obvious comparison to be made. What few descriptions there are on the internet generally fall in the Death/Doom bracket, but at their most straightforward, Inside The Fall remind me as much of bands with a Black rather than Death lineage. Somewhere between Mourning Dawn and Frailty, perhaps - whichever side of the genre boundary that actually leaves them - but with some faint echoes of Mindrot's Gothic heritage thrown in.
The final verdict, then: '...As Life Withers' shows a lot of potential, alongside some technical flaws, making it a worthy curiosity rather than a must-have, as it stands. I hope it attracts interest, though, because I'd really like to see what they could do with a bit more of a budget for mastering and a label to back the ensuing release.
Click HERE to discuss this review on the doom-metal forum.
1. Highest Walls Of Despair
2. Threnody At Dusk
3. Fallen Leaves Of July
4. Farewell Within
5. Untitled ('Hidden' track
Duration : Approx. 23 minutes
Visit the Inside the Fall bandpage.