Farsot are a peculiar entity. Extravagantly cryptic conceptual themes are as just as important to them as their unusual experimental black-metal sound. This German quintet is drenched in mystery, consisting of band members with names that roll off the tongue with sensual ease. Vocalist 10.XIXt, guitarists Pi: 1T 5r and 3818.w, bassist v.03/170, and drummer R 215k combine to paint an avant-garden of musical eden for fans of eccentricity and unpredictability. Their second full-length, 2011’s excellent Insects, focused on multi-dimensional, extra-terrestrial, god-like insects that invade the earth. Although Farsot have managed to exterminate the insects on Fail.lure they still manage to create a dense and cryptic story. Fail.lure, a mixture of “failure” and “allure,” is based on Peter Greenway’s arty movie “Drowning by Numbers,” addressing – and I quote – “the inevitable dilemma between fascination and mania, desire and disgust, power and weakness – the seeming rift between the sexes.”

Farsot are conceptually verbose and this rubs off on their music. Fail.lure is a fragmented, shape-shifting, chameleon of an album that I find difficult to make sense of. I do get a feeeling that a sense of over-sensuous over-stimulation accompanied the band when writing this album; Fail.Lure moves through the metal, and non-metal, spectrum with an over-zealousness that lacks a sense of unity and togetherness. In essence, Farsot’s Fail.lure shares a lot in common with Hail Spirit Noir’s Mayhem in Blue, though they lack the catchy hooks, playful carnival vibe, and coherency of the latter. A good example of their inconsistency comes from third track “With Obsidian Hands.” It initially  possesses a cold depressive black-metal feel as synths like clouds of frost mingle with anguished cries and gurgled lamentations in a rather awkward, flat and indecisive manner. This forlorn affair droops, sags and meanders with melancholy but doesn’t really pierce through effectively until the two-minute point. Here, guitars take on a plasma-rifle-esque surge and an intensity that has been largely lacking up until this point emerges. The tremolos hold a grander melodic feel that counteracts pleasantly with rumbling drums and more conventional, yet complementary, blackened growls.

However, as is the theme of Fail.lure, when the music gains momentum Farsot place tactless road spikes to slow proceedings down. It’s a stop-start affair decorated with flashy decals but lacking the engine to make the decorative touches at least semi-palatable. An Agalloch­-esque interlude breaks up “With Obsidian Hands” again at the mid-way point, but it seems out-of-place and underwhelming. The space-age synths that drift in with a melancholic whimper add an interesting element, but by this point the song fails to make an impact. Similarly “The Antagonist” mixes  Celtic Frost/Triptykon feel with a modern day black-metal sound that, although it has its moments, fails to – once again – live up to expectations. Guitar lines meander with the conventional unconventional dissonance and vocals croak and echo with disoriented randomness that leaves little to faun over. It’s not a bad track by any means, but it’s not a track I’ll see myself actively re-visiting.

A coherent and exciting whole comes in the form of fourth track “Undercurrents,” carrying peculiar melodic grooves through conventionally intense black-metal landscapes; lick-laced cleans and hushed croaks through vistas of pensiveness; and flange-infested psychedelia through dreamy meadows. It all comes together to form a wonderfully diverse track that builds organically. A stronger emphasis on the non-black-metal elements, with variations of extremity performing evil rituals under the covers rather than in the open, appears to suit Farsot a lot better on Fail.lure. Second track “Circular Stains” is a good example of this. Merging Dornenreich-esque neo-folk sounds – whispered vocals and layered acoustic arpeggios – alongside jazzy drum licks and black-metal, it has a unique feel that towers over the opening track. Moving into moody Agalloch territories, the song layers its melancholy well as the elastic moan of the bass-lines, the more conventional wash of blackened vocals, and a rich melodic chord merge to bring the song to a rousing end.

Final track “A Hundred To Nothing” opens with a bubbly bass-line that segues into an atmospheric prog/post-rock passage that drips with a warm yet melancholy atmosphere. Once again, as the focus seems to be on the non-metal passages at the core, the song has more coherency and thus a more engrossing atmosphere emerges. However, the song literally goes nowhere, fading out to nothingness without a hook, crush, groove, or move beyond lightly-seasoned post-rock. And this largely sums up my experience of Fail.lure. Technically excellent but compositionally flat. There are some excellent moments, but these owe more to non-metal than metal. Maybe the concept and message has gone completely over my head, therefore I welcome ridicule and lambasting from more enlightened commenters.


Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Prophecy Productions
Websites: farsot.bandcamp.com/ | facebook.com/farsot.official
Releases Worldwide: April 21st, 2017

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  • Monsterth Goatom

    I like the cover art. That’s me after a hard day at work (minus the breasts).

    • Reese Burns

      The cover art is genuinely creepy.

    • Akerblogger

      That’s me on the weekend (minus the breasts, unless I’m feeling naughty)

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      -Metalhead: Isn’t “Minus The Breasts” a Metalcore band?
      – Hipster: I guess you’re talking about the indie band “Minus The Bear” (laughs). Who would name a band “Minus The Breasts”?
      – Metalhead: Yeah, that would be a stupid name…

  • Very nice and thorough review.
    As atmospheric black metal and post-whatever are genres that generally impresses me less and less, my expectations wasn’t really high to begin with. Therefore, Fail·Lure didn’t, as you put it, “fail to … live up to expectations”. It exceeded my low expectations quite well.
    I think it’s a nice album within the confine of it’s genre, albeit not a mandatory one.

    • Reese Burns

      I enjoyed it as well, though I do find it to be a weak point within the band’s discography. If you liked it, make sure to check out their other releases as well!

      • I’ve heard them, but far from as much as a genre connoisseur surely have.
        Come to think of it, I had som expectations to begin with, but was disappointed after the first spin, before it started growing from there on.

        • Akerblogger

          It’s a shapeshifter of an album. I might re-visit it in a few months and love it. Conversely, I might despise it. Either way, I’ll have some sort of feeling towards it, which is a good thing, right?

          • Actually, that kind of nails it as much as the whole review itself. I’ve had the same rollercoastal feeling myself without putting it into words. Right now I feel a bit too gentle about rating it 4+ of 6 myself the other day, but there and than, that was exactly what I felt.

            Art is supposed to make you feel something, not just indifference, and so art that creates conflicting feelings should at least be considered genuine art. Or something.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      Low expectations are so easy to meet…

      • Yup. Crappy cover art, a lousy name and a shitty logo is all it takes to make a positive surprise ;)

  • Thatguy

    What a great band photo! No, I mean it.

    I don’t claim to be more kvlt than Akerblogger, but I like this track, and I think I will like the album more than him.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      Time to take the Band Photometer in for its annual check up. ;)

      • Thatguy

        Ha! Thanks for your concern – the Band Photometer works hard and does need regular servicing – rather like its owner…

        But the machine is working well. The photo and the music are in concordance.

        • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

          I like the band photo, except for the white masks. I find the picture to be nice but I found the masks gimmicky.

          • Thatguy

            I love it when they wear masks. Think Terra Tenabrosa. Great music. Great masks

          • Name’s Dalton

            Love the Terra. Love the masks.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            How about Gwar?

          • Thatguy

            I’ve actually never listened to them! There’s masks, and then there’s costume.

    • Akerblogger

      I’ve never been this confused with how I feel about an album. Some days it hit the sweet spot and I really enjoyed it, other days it became a chore. It’s certainly interesting and I’d rather have lots of albums like this that simultaneously confuse, irritate and amaze me than run-of-the-mill metal that just passes through and fades away.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Awesome closing comment, it made me realize more enlightened people don’t ridicule and lambast less enlightened ones.

    • Thatguy

      This is true.

      But the Band Photometer grinds on regardless.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        Enlightened people don’t judge others based on their appearence… Hey, now I feel like I’m almost a Zen master! ;)

    • Tofu muncher

      well as long as we’re all one big happy family of the enlightened ones.

  • Kyle Elliott

    That album art reminds me of the necromorphs from dead space

    • Bearded_Relic

      Agreed – difficult to forget those guys. And I didn’t mind the embedded track. Although I don’t think it’s captured me enough to make we want to spin the album cover to cover.

  • Tofu muncher

    Great review. I listened to the whole album and liked the music when it’s playing, but couldn’t really care less afterward.