The Black Fall are a Dutch band who are fairly adept at playing but on their debut album “The Time Traveler,” they lack anything to set themselves apart from…well, anyone. The band try to walk the line between prog rock and prog metal, which is fine except that the songs feel like they should be heavier than they are. They lack the punch needed and they also lack the hooks to keep things interesting.
The relentless “Modern Day Slave” almost works but the riffs need to be thicker. To make matters worse for me, the vocals tend to be a bit flat not only on this track but really throughout. While I appreciate that The Black Fall definitely give it 100%, there’s just not enough to keep me interested for 44 minutes.
In some ways, The Black Fall sound like an alt-rock band trying their hand at prog metal. Maybe they should pursue a more avant-garde approach. At times they ALMOST veer toward Converge but shy away from that sort of insane abandon. At the end of the day, “The Time Traveler” does little traveling and my mind tends to think about what time the album will end! Sorry.
I was going thru my hard drive and came across a folder called The Black Fall. It didn’t ring a bell. To be fair, there are a lot of folders like that. But that’s the problem. I had to check my own site to see that I did review it. Worse, when I read this I was disappointed in myself. This review is why I stopped accepting independent submissions. NOT because of the band! But when I read this review, it’s clear that I was burnt out and not remotely giving this band a chance. It’s embarrassing.
I even misspelled a song title and was too fucking lazy to correct it. So, it’s time to correct not only the song title but the review itself. My head is much clearer these days and I can give music a fair listen now. The original review was more about ME wanting THEM to sound how I wanted them to sound. What the actual fuck? The Black Fall ARE a prog band. They are a modern prog band that mix the tunefulness of The Pineapple Thief and Porcupine Tree with good ol’ Dream Theater aggression.
“Threshold of Love and Death” kicks you in the face from the start. The fact that I missed that in the review baffles me. And to clear up another stupid thing I said, the vocals are very good and not off key. I think my brain was off key. Check the middle section of the opening track to hear some great harmonies. And as for playing, the section at the 8 minute mark is awesome.
“Sonmi 4.5.1” starts off moody as hell before it kicks in 2 minutes in and has some serious power. Then it settles again. These are dynamics that I love. Clearly I missed this the first go around. “Modern Day Slave” has a relentless opening riff so I got that part right and sure I think I’ve heard the riff before but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t kick ass. The harmonies are odd but they are on key. Weird is fine. This song shows that the band have serious chops. Now the one actual down side is the shouted/rap vocals about 2 minutes into the song. Not really my thing but they do match the riff. TesseracT did it right?
The title track closes it out and it’s an epic with some powerful riffs that alternate with quiet introspection. It’s Opethian in some ways but not a rip off at all. It’s a proper track to close a very good debut album. One that I should have given a fair listen to the first time around. I apologize to The Black Fall. I suppose this was a chance for me to time travel and try to fix the past. The band deserved better from me. Check out this album if you like very well played modern prog with a metallic edge.
Original Rating: 4/10
New Rating: 8.5/10
1. Threshold of Love and Death
2. Sonmi 4.5.1
3. Modern Day Slave
4. The Time Traveler