PICK OF THE WEEK: Faetooth lead with smoky doom, thorny edges on ashy ‘Remnants of the Vessel’

Our Pick of the Week feature almost always highlights a record out that week or the one after that we’re really excited about and want to make an extra big deal about them.  But it’s the final week of reviews for 2022, which is hard to even fathom, so this last one is something we totally missed that was released fairly recently and that we just fucking adore.

Los Angeles doom power Faetooth released their debut full-length effort “Remnants of the Vessel” at the end of October, and while I do get the bulk of every recording released each week, I didn’t get a copy of this one. In fact, I was looking at animals and chef reactions videos on TikTok (I know! I know!) while high, and I was served up a live performance from Faetooth that blew my brain out of my skull. That led me to track down their Bandcamp where I purchased “Remnants,” and it’s been in constant rotation since. The band—guitarist/vocalist Ashla Chavez Razzano, guitarist/vocalist Ari May, bassist/vocalist Jenna Garcia, drummer Rah Kanan—calls their sound “fairy doom,” and the dreamy yet blistering edge to their music could lure you into a patch of thorns. Fans into bands such as Blackwater Holylight, High Priestess, and Jex Thoth will find a ton to like on these 10 tracks and 49 minutes that are enrapturing and have no qualms about slipping a dagger into your side.

“(i) naissance” is an intro cut that basks in strings aching, the intensity slowly rising to “Echolalia” that starts solemnly before burly crushing lands, and the bruising starts to set. “On thy knees now, we fall with what we build,” rings out, jabbing deeply and leaving a mark that never goes away. Shrieks sink in their teeth as the leads burn brightly, leaving everything charred. “La Sorcière” is ominous and builds deliberately, the anguish in the singing making its presence felt. The track delves into perceived shame and women who have been put to the test, always unjustly, and that rage and fire blazes through this song. “She Cast a Shadow” has gentle guitar tapping as the darkness enshrouds, and a dreamy haze makes your head feel light. Shrieks jar as the melodies enter your veins, slinking and dripping before brutality beckons. “The roll of the tide, this lesson of disgrace, she plunges into water, her shadow engulfs the sea,” is called as moans and screams intertwine, blasting out into mystery. “(ii) limbo” is the second of three interlude tracks, this one bringing guitars clashing, voices warbling, and feedback squall digging deep into your psyche.

“Remains” dawns with a solemn pace as the singing emits pain, and the haze spreads its wings. Jolts make your teeth rattle while the dreamy essence here feels like a fever dream, whispers landing gently. Then the guitars flood over, shrieks peel back flesh, and everything melts into the earth.  “Discarnate” blisters as harsh howls wash over you, and the sludge collects and makes your footing nearly impossible. Menace and deliberate movement combine and make the energy hostile, the words, “Your heart held a holy sentiment,” draining into your mind. “Strange Ways” starts quietly as the singing emerges and takes your hand toward damnation. “Sick outside your home, in such strange ways, invoked under the floors, the procession sways,” haunts, increasing the darkness, making the fog in front of you seem impossible to survive. “(iii) moribund” is the final interlude, balancing gliding strings and turntable-style static spitting, turning toward apocalyptic closer “Saturn Devouring His Son,” a standout track saved for the end. This is the longest track, running 9:31, and everything feels morbid as the words, “First the head and then the bod’, and half his blood spills down the jaw,” make it feel like the world is ending. Emotions swell as the playing goes from gentle to cataclysmic, the aforementioned words continuing to repeat, paying an emotional toll that could cost you your heart and mind.

“Remnants of the Vessel” is one of those records you’ll always remember the first time you hear it, and Faetooth have something incredibly special with their first full-length that should be a building block to greater things. The way the band weaves their doomy tales and colors that with metallic trauma can feel disarmingly tranquil, and their delivery packs even more of a punch, which is terrifying to realize. You’re always going to miss out on really good records during a year, because there’s just so much to consider, but I’m grateful “Remnants” came into our orbit, and there it’ll stay forever.   

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

To buy the album, go here: https://faetooth.bandcamp.com/album/remnants-of-the-vessel

For more on the label, go here: https://www.facebook.com/dunealtar/

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