Falls of Rauros – Key to a Vanishing Future Review

Here we are again—you, me, and Falls of Rauros. It’s a union I dread every couple of years because it feels like I’m married again.1 But, for better or worse, I’m definitely married to this Maine foursome. The first year of my tenure here at AMG, Inc., I reviewed the band’s mighty Believe in No Coming Shore. Like, its predecessor, Believe in No Coming Shore is a rollercoaster ride of Agallochian temperament, Alcestian positivity, and enlightening dynamics that let every aspect of the music shine brightly. And that approach hasn’t changed in ten years. That said, the band has introduced new subtleties to their records. These include guttural barks and clean vocals to support the blackened shrieks. Not to mention the superior dual guitar harmonies in the vein of Spirit Adrift. But, while that’s great and all, it’s the rhythm section that keeps it all in check. The bass presence has only gotten stronger, and the drum work impresses with each release. But, I ask myself, how long can a band continue to release one great album after another? When will the odds turn against them, and the string snaps?

Honestly, I don’t have the answer to that question. Because Key to a Vanishing Future still sees the odds in Fall of Rauros’ favor, and the string still intact. This multi-instrument outfit continues to work with its traditional format of six tracks over forty-five minutes. But, while this new record doesn’t have anything you haven’t already heard, the band has a knack for execution. Somehow, they continue to breathe uniqueness into each effort and supply just enough originality to make each new release different from the last. They do this in part with harder-hitting numbers that better support the recent inclusion of death vocals. While there are plenty of meloblack moments and sweeping atmospheres, you won’t find anything like “Renouvellement” on Key to a Vanishing Future. Ditching these oddities streamlines this new record far more than its predecessor, Patterns in Mythology.

Songs in question include the back-to-back “Know World Narrows” and “Daggers in Floodlight.” The first of these opens with a pleasing bass intro, surrounded by Spirit Adrift-like dual guitar harmonies. Then, it snaps, unleashing a Death-inspired lick combined with Enslaved-esque progressiveness. It’s a surprising transition that works even when it heads into those classic FoR meloblack atmospheres. Then, before you know it, it smashes through an even more surprising riff that’s the most headbangable thing I’ve heard from the band. “Daggers in Floodlight” begins a touch calmer. Then, a galloping death charge interrupts the calm—emphasized mightily by the stellar drum work. But, unlike the previous track, this one whips and whirls through guitar leads before blanketing itself in the clean, reverberating beauty of Alcest.

Other standouts are the Spirit Adrift-inspired “Survival Poem” and the closer, “Poverty Hymn.” “Survival Poem” displays some of the better dual harmonies on the album before dumping some heavily-distorted black tar on the canvas. But the back half of the song is the best part. After dropping the heaviness in favor of gorgeous acoustic guitars, the rim-tapping drumsticks signal a build into melodic bliss. The vocals also lend a large hand in pulling this bliss high up to the stratosphere. But, “Poverty Hymn” is the true epic of the record. Though it starts strong, the closer, like “Survival Poem,” is better on the backside. Here, the clean guitars introduce the next slow-moving transition that builds to a melodic apex before eventually calming and soothing your soul with its breathtaking outro.

The biggest issue I have with this album is the opener. Though it has some slick riffs, it struggles to get the album going. It still works, but FoR typically has strong openers—especially with the last album. After a few listens, I finally saw its purpose, but “Desert of Heart” could have easily been the album’s introduction. I only tell you this if you’re expecting something as massive as the back-to-back “Détournement” and “Weapons of Refusal” of Patterns of Mythology. You won’t get that. Once again, Falls of Rauros continues to impress me, and with each listen of Key to the Vanishing Future, I find even more that I like about it.

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 10 | Format Reviewed: 320 kb/s mp3
Label: Gilead Media and Eisenwald Records
Websites: fallsofrauros.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/fallsofraurosofficial
Releases Worldwide: March 25th, 2022

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  1. Stop dreading reviews, Dread Reviewer! – Steel
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