Fall Of Efrafa


Written by: TL on 28/12/2009 23:25:54

Sigh. You know you've waited too long with a review, when the band in question breaks up before you get around to writing about their record. That's the case with England's Fall Of Efrafa, who are however punishing me posthumously, because here, waiting near the end of my 2009-review queue, is their third and final LP "Inlé", a record of seven tracks, only two of which clock in below ten minutes, and all of which are the kind of post-hardcore that makes that definition make sense again. And here I was thinking they meant it in the (more accessible) modern sense...

Ah well, time to do some research then, after all, there is much to be known about Fall Of Efrafa apart from merely what they sound like. First of all, their own myspace does a fair job at cluing the listener in:

"FALL OF EFRAFA (2005 - 2009) was an atmopheric post hardcore band influenced by the mythological and political overtones in the book "Watership Down" by Richard Adams. A concept project, a trilogy of records known collectively as "The Warren Of Snares" - Owsla, Elil and Inlé. The narrative follows an iron age society oppressed by a theocratic rule, dying at the hands of ignorant ideology, their struggle to overcome both physical and mental hardship and to strike out against the ultimate enemy, the encroachment of man."

Now, if the title of that book doesn't immediately ring a bell, and I bet it won't outside of Britain and the states, I say think back to your childhood, and see if you don't remember a dramatic cartoon tv-series about rabbits crossing the country in search of a new home. If you remember something like that, then likely that was the series based on this book that you watched back then. Of course, Fall Of Efrafa's music isn't about rabbits, but that's not my point in talking about this. My point is that, if you also look at the six LP box set the band is offering, even after shutting the band down upon the completion of its story, then you should begin to comprehend that this is so much different from any normal band, and so much different from the normal conception of a record.

Now, as pr. usual, I was of course blissfully ignorant about all this until I received "Inlé" for review, and to this date, it's the only FOE record I've heard. That probably makes me poorly suited for writing its review, but that's the way it is, and if you don't think I do it well enough, the band has also been kind enough to feature several of their reviews in their myspace blog, and I invite you to check those out for more in depth knowledge. Here, I will proceed to simply provide the perspective that I think I share with many of you, that of the clueless newcomer.

Now as for the sound, if Primordial played post-hardcore instead of black/pagan/folk-metal (or whatever they call it), they would sound like Fall Of Efrafa. Similarly, if The Ocean played songs about people rather than geological phenomena, they too would sound like Fall Of Efrafa. The songs they play are lengthy (as in.................................................................................. lengthy) and they tend to crawl ahead in a tempo not foreign to doom metallers, only ever so slowly adding details and variations to their bleak, corrosive riffage and caustic harsh vocals, and the result - the result is about as epic as watching LOTR 1-3 extended edition in slow-motion. It takes forever, but sure enough, the atmosphere is thick and convincing, and if you have the patience to pay attention, you can soon enough rip the reward in the weight of the climaxes and the moods of the droning landscapes.

That's the good thing about them, but there is of course also a negative perspective, even apart from the one of the average listener having to take more than thrice the time to listen to a FOE song compared to a 'normal' song. That would be the question of what FOE really bring to the table strictly musically speaking. I mean, when it comes to bleak, uncompromising and epic post-hardcore/post-metal/call-it-what-you-will, The Ocean is the first band that comes to mind, and apart from having even longer tracks and a crazy concept of their own, FOE aren't really that different soundwise, at least not from what I can tell. Once you've wrapped your head around this record, it will in fact flow and sound exactly like you would imagine it would, and thoughts of things such as elements of surprise or innovation, seem to have been omitted in favor of full dedication to rather straight-forward, lengthy progressions, dedicated solely to the telling of the story. What does this mean for the listener? Well, put it like this; If I didn't know anything about this band, and didn't feel like reading about it, it would take a looooot of listens and a looooot of concentration to appreciate even a percentage of what is going on. And then even when you do get in there, listening is a bit like sitting on the shoulders of a marching giant - for a while, it will be fascinating to witness villages and stuff getting crushed under foot, but after a little while, the similarity of each crushing, lumbering step, might begin to test the patience of even those freshly converted to FOE. What can I say? This is good and I really like it, but the times I will be able to sit down and spend 70+ minutes on truly appreciating it will be few and far in between, and if I hadn't taken the time to investigate the background of the music, I'm not even sure I'd ever have understood any of it. But then on the other hand, is it really appropriate to ask for even an ounce of accessibility when it comes to a release such as this? You be the judge of that I guess.

Download: Republic Of Heaven,
For The Fans Of: The Ocean, Neurosis, Primordial
Listen: fallofefrafa.com/music.html

Release Date 30.10.2009
Denovali / Cargo Records

No myspace player, but you can download everything from the band's entire discography, free of charge, by clicking the link above!!!

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