On an episode of “Seinfeld,” Frank Costanza once yelled, “I will not tolerate infestation!” Now, he was talking about rodents, but the mass gathering black metal experimentalists Farsot have in mind involves insects. Lots and lots of little creatures with multiple legs who typically creep us out. And if their vision is true, you may not have a choice but to deal with said infestation. That is, if you survive to see it.
The German band, that’s been in existence since 1999 but didn’t offer their full-length debut until 2007 with “IIII,” have changed things a bit in the past few years. The music is more explorative and mesmerizing, trancey and stirring, spread out and panic-inducing. Their new sophomore effort “Insects” (out on Lupus Lounge)is not a blast beat frenzy, it’s not packed with speed and ferocity, it’s not going to inspire a ton of clichéd metal listener activities such as headbanging and fist pumping. Instead, it should make you concentrate and wonder, fear for your future, and remember all of your life’s worst nightmares. In fact, the content on “Insects” sounds like something that would make for a good, cheesy SyFy channel movie where gigantic insects rule the earth, trying to snuff out the humans. Unlike how said movie likely would end, humanity wouldn’t stand a chance.
Farsot look at what’s happening on planet Earth, the technological tidal wave that has become our lives, and our total devotion, even worship, of the advancements we’ve made as a race. But there are those who believe our technology eventually will crumble on top of us, and if you look at all of the concentration spent on preventing certain countries from gaining nuclear capabilities, while the same nations wringing hands have that power right now, it certainly isn’t impossible to imagine a day when all of those groups cancel out each other in one giant mushroom cloud. And what would remain? Well, the insects, of course.
So, sure, what Farsot envision is only a theory, a premonition, a scary dream from which we should be able to wake, but that’s not a certainty. That’s what makes the eight songs on “Insects” so scary and effective. Not only does their music match their vision perfectly, but we can’t outright ignore the lyrical content here. We are capable of destroying ourselves and leaving this world to the multi-legged beings. It’s interesting when going over the words and realizing the lyrics are kind of both abstract and that-can-apply-to-anything general, but knowing their intent gives the lines power and venom.
“Like Flakes of Rust” opens the record, and what’s interesting is the vocal approach applied by singer 10.XIXt (the band members go by weird codes instead of names) in which he uses more of a speak growl. It’s not just in this song but in many other places, and it comes off like a buzzing, almost as if he’s taking on the characteristics of the new overlords. “Empyrean” is thrashy and more in your face sonically than most of the other songs, though it eventually goes calm, with cleaner vocals and rich atmosphere. “Perdition” sounds a little bit like Opeth in spots, as it leans more towards prog, but it also has its eruption points. “The Vermillion Trail” has a damaged black metal approach not unlike Funeral Mist, as the song envisions the meltdown it warns about and reminds us that only the insects can come out of the nuclear winter. “Withdrawal” goes gothy and psychedelic, seemingly inspired by Celtic Frost’s early days, while instrumental “Somnolent” is an unsettlingly calm outro piece, either soundtracking the funeral of mankind or the transformation to the bug world.
“Insects” isn’t just a weird, horror-style warning that’s noteworthy for its philosophy. It’s an excellently crafted album of spacious, thought-sparking black metal , death and prog that infuses new life into Farsot, a band that wasn’t exactly stale. It’s a transformation, a metamorphosis into a more organic, exciting band that’s capable of anything. It’s almost as if the rest of the black metal world, that’s content to keep doing the same thing, is imploding, and only a band such as Farsot could come crawling out of the smoke and carnage. They have plenty to offer the world and are completely captivating, even if what they’re serving us are the seeds being planted for our extinction.
For more on the band, go here: http://www.farsot.de/
To buy “Insects,” go here: http://shop.prophecy.de/product_info.php?info=p1240_FARSOT—Insects–CD-Jewelcase-.html
For more on the label, go here: http://prophecy.cd/