Fell Voices – Untitled
With bands like Wolves In The Throne Room, and any band that gets the word “Cascadian” or “atmospheric” attached to it, it’s guaranteed to reach a fan base. It seems to attract the people who perked up when they heard Aaron Turner of Isis was releasing black metal bands on his Hydrahead label. While these “atmospheric” black metals are gaining in popularity, it’s definitely causing people to need to sift through the records to find the good ones. Santa Cruz, CA’s Fell Voices is one of the best ones.
Fell Voices continue their flawless discography with their second untitled album which features two untitled tracks that are 20 minutes apiece. While that may turn a lot of people off, it really is an album that demands to be digested more than simply heard. The lack of titling puts the music first and is only furthered by the fact that the vocals take second or third place here. They aren’t vocals so much as they are one more sound. I have a friend who is from Santa Cruz and he claims that there is something about it’s geographic location that puts some magic in the air. He claims that he breathes easier, is more at ease and his creativity spikes. While I would be one to chalk that up as hometown pride, I also understand it because I spent my early childhood in the Bay Area and my dad used to take me on walks on the foggy beaches and tell me stories about a nameless traveler and there really was something in the air in that part of the state. Interestingly enough, Fell Voices’ record took me to that exact memory. While I had never heard it, it was instantly familiar and nostalgic. I understand this has little to nothing to do with the music, but I thought it should be noted because this band instantly had the ability to take me out of my present location of Afghanistan and capture my imagination.
Both tracks ebb and flow. Lulls are interrupted by explosions of sound. Parts of it make me wonder if this is what Godspeed You! Black Emperor might sound like if they went the black metal route. The music isn’t straight up black metal as it intertwines elements of doom and punk with harmonies and melodies showing through the jagged aggressiveness. The music really has a special ability that only the best bands have to allow you to subconsciously shut off the analytical left side of your brain and let the imaginative, right side to take over your thought process. The album demands your full attention and it really is a pleasure to allow it.