Formerly the mastermind of now-defunct Scottish act Askival, Andy Marshall introduces us to Falloch with this stunning debut. Joining forces with Scott McClean – his ex-band mate at Concept Of Time – the duo cause some monumental sonic rifts with ‘Where Distant Spirits Remain’.
In comparison to Marshall’s ex-band, there’s less of a focus on the brazened black metal that gave Askival a harsher edge – completely avoiding any grizzly, frostbitten vocals. But that doesn’t hinder this record at all and if anything, it allows the pair to explore themselves and find new, exciting musical possibilities.
Falloch use folk instruments, but we’re not at liberty to compare it with any of their ‘would-be’ peers of the ‘folk metal’ genre. Much unlike the troll-obsessed, Viking car-crashes that occasionally come out of Scandinavia, Falloch avoid a saturated sound with more subtle uses of pan-pipes and acoustic guitar. It’s weaved into their beautiful ambient soundscapes and shoegaze guitar lines to suck you under into a vortex of lush melody.
There’s definitely a nod to Alcest and to what is now being commonly referred to as ‘blackgaze’ – especially on the ten-minute epic ‘Where We Believe’ – capturing the energy of black metal with its furious blastbeating and the quality of shoegaze with its ethereal constructions. ‘To Walk With The Dead’ shows that the Glaswegians respectfully adopt similar loud, quiet dynamics as their fellow Scotsmen Mogwai.
Falloch have matched their ambition spectacularly – their intentions have resulted in an album that is as organic as it is utterly beautiful. This is music that will make you shiver and take you on a tearful journey of happiness and sorrow.
Where Distant Spirits Remain is out now on Candlelight
You’ll like this if… you think listening to Mogwai on a trek to Machu Picchu would be epic.