Falls of Rauros, Patterns in Mythology
September 27, 2019
I’m not sure if I like this album too much or not enough. I think it may have overtaken The Flaming Lips for my album of the year, that’s how much I like it. My first impression was that Patterns in Mythology was way too epic, way too grandiose. But…I kept coming back to it. The vinyl is great too because sides A and B both have an intro track. These two tracks, Detournement & Renouvellement (French), roughly translate to “a hijacking” and “a renewal.” In an interview with Decibel Magazine (2019), Aaron Charles (vocals, guitars, lyrics) mentions that songs “generally alternate between offering a ragged optimism and an embittered pessimism” and that the two more optimistic tracks, “Weapons of Refusal” and “Last Empty Tradition” were inspired by the writings of Raoul Vaneigem, a situationist thinker (of which I know nothing about). Much like Propagandhi’s Supporting Caste, there is more to be discovered in these lyrics. I have only recently tried to discover them and I can’t wait to build my own understanding, as Charles also notes that there is some ambiguity in the meaning (“up for interpretation” – gotta love that!). I’m happy to see I at least have a place to start looking for clues.
The songwriting is incredible. The first instrumental track gets right to it with an immediate grandiose build up. Toms, cymbals, and the bass drum are all you need on an intro drum track. I don’t think I heard a snare hit in “Detournement”. “Weapons of Refusal” offers everything I am looking for in a metal song. Kool Aid man bursting through the wall with a crusty thrash death riff opener? Check. Drummer that shreds but supports the band rather than showing off? Check. Epic melodic black metal rippers on guitars that know when to turn on and off the heavy parts? Check. Patience in building into sick transitions and tempo changes? Check. Right when it seems like “Weapons of Refusal” may meander and end worse than it started, Falls of Rauros transition us to the crickets and campfire scene with an acoustic guitar, but without going too far into nature mode. They use this time just perfectly to setup an incredible finish. Masterful guitar solos lead into the lyric “boundless ruin will find your captors…” and a metal goosebumps moment I haven’t experienced since hearing the climax of Khemmis’ “Flesh to Nothing.” At the peak of the epic climax, Falls of Rauros closes with a huge surprise and sad part paired with the inspirational “baring your teeth, wielding the weapons of refusal…” and the repeated yell, “MATCHING THEIR VIOLENCE.” This song makes me want to run a really slow introspective mile or record setting two mile where I sprint the last 400.
All the songs are so good. The end sections are special when paired with reading the lyrics. Listen for that bass intro in “Memory at Night.” This album is by far the most satisfying metal album I’ve heard this year. It may even be better, and approaching instant classic territory.
Oh yeah, my little personal blog. This has been a CRAZY month for me personally! I officially got closure on my long-term relationship with my daughter’s mother after an unbelievable scene that bled into a wild, somewhat scary and unpredictable time in my life (that has since settled down). I’ll refrain from sharing details, but it was not fun to deal with. Also, both of my houses are in escrow! Fingers crossed, but I think I’ll be in Tahoe within a couple weeks. Almost on to the next chapter, but DAMN it has felt like running the gauntlet to get here.