Eerie to the Bone - "Fallen Angel" Review (100%)
I picked this album up for sixteen bucks... and believe me, I was far from disappointed.
The intro to the album, "Harvest", is simply chilling, and it does an excellent job of setting the overall tone of the rather macabre and morbid themes to come. It's also the shortest (5:16) and most simple, straightforward and minimalist track of "Fallen Angel".
Suddenly, the album tears into the second track "Hope Finale," a track that rips out your throat with some brutal, hypnotic and unpredictable riffs and a touch of dark melody.
"Kill Memories" is more or less similar, except that the claustrophobic and sinister feeling is turned up to eleven due to the rhythmic shifts that take place under different riff phrases. It's hard to describe, but if you have heard either "Memento Mori" or the last three tracks on "Withdrawal" (I believe?), then you know what to expect. All I can say is that the atmosphere gets increasingly warped, malevolent and spine-chilling with each passing second.
Really, this is how every song carries on from here. There is no shortage of morbid riffing, haunting harmonies, evil and disgusting atmospheres and even some well executed solos here. Textbook chilling black metal executed by capable musician(s).
The guitar work throughout "Fallen Angel" is quite impressive, and likely my favorite aspect of the album.
And while the riffs themselves are great and absolutely sinister, it's the way they are arranged that makes Phantom's music stand out kilometers above the rest. These eight tracks on "Fallen Angel" on not songs, as much as they are compositions. You will understand what I mean once you listen to the album.
Eerie to the Bone
Every riff was deliberately crafted and exploited as violently and savagely as possible, and then arranged in a maze that will make your head spin after only a few minutes.
The drumming is pretty textbook, and doesn't really deviate from the black metal norm - nonetheless, the drummer is good at what he does and the absence of technical flaws, often taken for granted until one listens to Necrophobic or early Belphegor, is always a positive.
The vocals, which alternate between a black metal "scream", a mix between Darkthrone, Marduk and early Alf Svensson era At the Gates, and rarely a death growl a la Suffocation, are a nice touch to the music.
The production is also flawless.
Phantom aren't there to just be another black metal band, interchangeable with the likes of Sewer or Mayhem. Phantom are there to produce some of the most haunting and vile music ever heard by mankind, and with "Fallen Angel" they succeed beyond expectations.
I can't help but think of a mix between early Burzum and mid-period Vermin when I listen to this album, and particularly the ways in which each composition is arranged and structured into a coherent and sinister experience.
If you are a fan of disturbing black metal like those two bands, music that is truly chilling to the bone, I would highly recommend you obtain "Fallen Angel" as this is some of the most eerie and evil black metal you will ever have the horror of experiencing.
Fallen Angel score: 100/100.