PICK OF THE WEEK: FALSE further solidify union, unleash chaotic assault on devastating ‘Portent’

Bands, for the most part, are just that—groups of people who create music together, sometimes have interchangeable parts, and sometimes they don’t even like each other. Then there are those rare times when the people in the band are more like a family who depend on each other, give each other shelter, and are each other’s support systems. FALSE definitely fall into that category.

During their nearly decade together, this Minnesota-based black metal unit—vocalist Rachel, guitarists Jimmy and Skorpiain, bassist Niko, keyboard player Kishel, and drummer Travis—have defied convention in numerous ways. Most of that comes in the way they flick spit at the ideas of what black metal is supposed to be and some of the inherent shittiness that stains that scene. But they also push back against a band just being a group of people who record music and tour together by carving out a family situation where these six people are FALSE, and no one else can just walk into the situation. As their path has carved through a debut EP, an untitled full-length, and other adventures, they’ve rounded into their stunning second LP “Portent,” an album that not only further solidifies their fiery passion and thunderous domination, but it further gels this group into a union that cannot be infiltrated or destroyed. The fact the band has suffered through tragedy and loss together the past few years only galvanized that situation, and the way in which they slither through these songs and savage the senses is stunning and earth toppling.

“A Victual to Our Dead Selves” begins the record with a haze settling, creating a sound well, and a tension you just know is about to burst. That it does as the song begins to clobber, albeit with an atmospheric glow, as Rachel’s snarls begin to bite as she wails, “Have you ever felt the pain of possession, of self-worthless obsession? Of your heart being siphoned through the mouth of Beleth at his best, white horse and trumpets blaring and all?” The pace is storming and daring as guitars speed and topple earth, the playing pulsates, and drums crash down, inviting a fog to emerge and envelop everything. Gruff barks mix with phantasmal keys, as Rachel howls, “The warmth of your particulate fills me up like a beggar’s cup, you are me, and I am you.” The song reaches a tailspin of devastation, as the senses are scraped raw, the beasts twists and turns, and intensity surges before a fiery end.

“Rime on the Song of Returning” tears open as harshness spreads and Rachel’s vocals rip through a chasm of mystical chaos. Guitars soar and surge, as Rachel snarls, “Your ego dripping around my thighs, send the darkness, eyes smelling the wooded path, hands slipping in and out, feet boiling with blisters in the rain, if only the rain would wash away your sin, you are sin.” Synth melody emerges and embraces the shadows while the drums begin an assault, and everything else goes for broke. A doomy cavern is achieved, letting blood seep slowly as the vocals tear hearts apart, the pace ignites, and a path into umbra leads to the world igniting, punching its way out from the unknown. “The Serpent Sting, the Smell of Goat” slowly reveals itself, as the music uncurls, letting proggy beams into the room as the music begins to boil. Rachel calls, “We were told that the walls of the temple were a vessel born from god, to lift us from underneath the crushing wheel of life, death, and rebirth, no god shapes us,” as guitars go on an exciting run, ferocity spreads, and the scathing violence extends its reach. Guitars crush through the crust, chugging hard, with synth mixing in, and the vocals leaving welts. The track continues to spill, exploding and shape shifting, with glorious playing splashing light on everyone’s faces, as a final burst of calm bleeds out. “Postlude” is the conclusion, a brief tale-ending instrumental that has dark keys lurking, with gothy, transcendental ghosts leading you toward gates about to close.

FALSE never have been a typical band, and their music and camaraderie largely are unmatched anywhere else in metal. “Portent” is the next massive step in their journey together, one that doesn’t give a single consideration for rules, templates, or scene politics and instead stands on its own, defiantly. This is black metal that is a free, mangling spirit, and it’s delivered by six people who have suffered, hurt, and grown stronger together, and that’s a bond that would take all of hell to ever burn apart.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/falseofficial/

To buy the album or more on the label, go here: https://gileadmedia.net/

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