Monday, August 22, 2011

False - "Untitled EP" (2011) [Gilead Media]

So I'm going to come right out and say it - I giggle like an idiot whenever I see this band's name. I'm caught between thinking they either thought FALSE was a cool word and stuck with it, or they knew entirely what they were doing and went for a tongue-in-cheek sort of approach, laying waste to Sarcofago's preceding notion that "if you are a false, do not entry." In this new era of people getting into black metal fairly recently and diving headfirst into the scene, it is hard to tell if they're aware of word connotations...all I know is that being a black metal band and calling yourself "false" is either the result of poor research or a genius social commentary on conservative, angry, "trve" black metal nerds like myself. Little did I know that this album would be just as confusing as my mental dichotomy surrounding the band name...

Like every new American black metal band, I approached them with caution, half-expecting some sort of watered down Wolves in the Throne Room clone, but that is pretty far from the truth. False is...weird, for lack of a better word. Each side of this EP is like a different face, "The Key of Passive Suffering" and "Sleepmaker" sort of echoing the "dramatic masks," though instead of "comedy and tragedy," Untitled is more aptly represented by "rage and remorse." "The Key..." is a thrashing black metal epic with keyboards that remind me a bit of Castlevania's gothic swagger, sometimes reminding me a bit of Master's Hammer, early Cradle of Filth (not necessarily a bad thing), or even Ceremonial Castings. There are constant key changes, headbanging rhythms and peculiar interplay between the guitars and keyboards. Definitely a different take on the American black metal scene that concentrates more on either being horrendously raw or magnificently smooth and introspective.

Side B, "Sleepmaker," acts as the calming aftermath of the raging "The Key..."; a much more melodic, lulling way for the listener to "catch one's breath." Of course, False cannot remain quiet and calm for too long, and the track climaxes with a heavy, hardcore punk-esque romp that ultimately closes the song. Aside from a few timing slip-ups here and there, it is nice to see that False is able to show a degree of variability within their music, and, while both of these songs are unique in sound to False, I really wish there was a sort of middle ground between these songs to smooth out the "schizophrenic" sort of feel that plagues this EP. These two songs end up much too different from each other to create a solid sonic identity for False that I sincerely hope they fix in the future.

Though I cannot deny that these two songs are good, it is sad to say that there aren't really any memorable melodies that truly catch me like other bands do so well. I know that sounds strange, but with every song that I ultimately want to revisit, there is that one melody or that one riff that I wait for so that I can reach a sort of fulfillment with each listen. I understand what False is ultimately trying to do with their experimental flair, but I feel they almost cover too much ground with this EP, which takes away from their ability to concentrate on a really cool idea and flesh it out to create something memorable. Of course, that's just me being nitpicky. False is still good and is definitely worth at least a handful of listens at the Gilead Media bandcamp (choose your own price, too!) and, if you like it enough, it is sold at a reasonable price for rather handsomely packaged LP. I see bright things in False's future if they make the right decisions. Here's hoping they do.



  1. If you look in lyrics sheet, it would seem that Sleepmaker is side A, not side B. There seems to be no markings on the vinyl itself to say otherwise.

  2. Check the etchings on the vinyl. Both sides have the song title etched into the side. I love this album. Great review, too.

  3. they were fully aware of the humor behind being called falsem fyi


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