Falls of Rauros - _The Light That Dwells in Rotten Wood_
(Bindrune Recordings, 2011)
by: Dan Lake (7.5 out of 10)
Maine's Falls of Rauros position themselves firmly in the growing pantheon (or should it be pangaeon?) of American bands trafficking in the kind of misanthropic despair that celebrates forest wandering and the demise of our consumerist society. Their peers (Velnias, Wolves in the Throne Room, Agalloch, et al) generally hail from woodlands farther west, but Falls hardly lack for inspiration in their Northeastern wilderness. Let us not forget, such shadowy wilds also yielded cold-sweat-inducing Tommyknockers, telepathic extraterrestrial shit-weasels versus Duddits the Dreamcatcher, and the misadventures of that girl who loved Tom Gordon. And like Mr. King's yarns of a punctured but familiar reality, there is earthy beauty and practical companionship to be had alongside the screaming anguish that _The Light That Dwells in Rotten Wood_ calls its nocturnal sylvan home.

_Light That Dwells_ sounds amazing. Agonized elemental screeches cut across the sheets of cloud-bursting chaos cascading off the crashing drums and tireless guitar strumming. Acoustic moments hum with their own bright intensity, and the transitions into aggressive extremity always grow cunningly from those deeper roots. Six-stringed layers keen over the trail beaten out by the drum kit, which adroitly balances explosion with exploration in accordance with the (extended) song requirements. These pieces must be wicked to practice and perform, since of the three (the other three tracks here are passengers, essential but not full siblings), only one struggles to find the ten-minute mark.

Agalloch's _The Mantle_ is an unqualified success in the merging of neofolk and metal, and there is a certain gross impropriety in forcing any other band's effort to prove its (um...) mettle against that particular measure. Sonic similarities, however -- chord choices, approach to tempos and drumming styles -- on _Light That Dwells_ invite the comparison rather openly. Still, Falls hear different voices in the wind and tread different rocks on their own spiritual path. In a world absent of _The Mantle_'s fertile gift, _Light That Dwells_ would make its own distinctive mark on the landscape. Even our own world could use more reminders like this that our planet does not passively await our arrogant declarations of pastoral elegance, but, having long endured our transgressions, may well eat us, forget us, and spin again more peacefully into its cyclical eternity.

Contact: http://www.bindrunerecordings.com/

(article published 15/1/2012)

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