|Melodic Death Metal
Self-release, Spread the Metal Records (2012)
January 1st, 2010 / January 20th, 2012
Release length: 21:28
For a self-released EP, Order to Die sounds great. The music sounds rich and vibrant, a necessity for many Melodic Death Metal acts, and carries a bit of a polished shine to it without losing any of its bite. This professional recording boasts some mid-level distortions that have a nice bite to them without getting too high in pitch, or being too distorted. On top of that, the bass comes through pretty loudly and can be heard well in the mix against the two guitars, adding to the highly infectious melody and rhythm being churned out here. The drumming sounds great as well with a thick click to the bass kicks, the cymbals that are just a little off of being thunderous and commanding but still get the job done well, and the snares seem to carry a slight echo with their tight, sharper sound. Of course the vocals here are more of a rasp approach that sounds venomous, though some of the layered vocals are a little easy to spot at times, such as during “Seeds of Tyranny” where you hear a background layer last just a split second longer. The vocal performance is also at a bit of a lower level, putting them a behind the music a bit, which isn’t bad, but just seems a little pointless overall for this style, and when they are executed in a deeper tone like with “Voyage Au Bout De La Nuit,” they can be hard to pick out and kind of drowned in the mix.
But the quality is far from the only thing impressive here. “Morituri Te Salutant” kicks the EP off nicely with a bit of a dismal build one might expect in a film when overlooking the result of a large battle, an instrumental that feels perfectly suited for the start of Fallen Joy‘s live set. The orchestral elements set a tone for a higher powered and somewhat grand release, which comes to a soft conclusion prior to a traditional soft melodic build from the guitars for an introduction of “Order to Die.” It doesn’t take too long before the track kicks in with a much richer sound thanks to all the instruments finally kicking in. The thunderous and deep bass kicks fill the song nicely, the melodies of the song before infectious rhythms you simply cannot turn a blind eye too, and the subtle shifts between mid-range grand music with punishing, faster Melodic Death Metal are executed with ease, shifting nicely from one end to another. About half way through, the listener is greeted with a marching segment thanks to the drumming, layered with a nice guitar solo that follows up on the atmosphere that “Morituri Te Salutant” established. This sort of energetic pace is picked up again in “Seeds of Tyranny,” another faster paced track full of catchy lead riffs that will stay lodged in your skull for days. On top of that, the chorus, and the build up to it, actually are tackled a little slower with guttural vocals against the rasps to depict gang chants, all coming off natural to the song.
This makes a nice medium between styles, as the rest of the album doesn’t quite take such an energetic approach. “Hoisting the Black Flag” still boasts a good deal of enthusiasm, but clearly geared towards a much deeper, heavier approach with some slower material, relying on a bit of a melodic groove to hook the listener. It’s a solid song from start to finish that definitely accomplishes what the band set out to do. This song makes head banging involuntary as well, and while it may not hold the same impact as “Order to Die” or “Seeds of Tyranny,” it definitely proves the band’s ability to incorporate a good amount of range into their music. The same can be said for “Voyage Au Bout De La Nuit,” the slowest of songs on the release, as well as the longest. You can’t help but feel a slight emotional push in the opening chords as it lays out a depressing atmosphere that is capitalized upon through deeper vocals at various times. The rest of the track does try to stay melancholic, but unfortunately it doesn’t really maintain that tone well, and while it makes for a good change of pace like “Hoisting the Black Flag,” it isn’t the most engaging track on the release. Yes, it’s a suitable closer, but it feels a little less rich than it should be, and doesn’t quite leave the same impact as the other three songs, even the introductory tracks.
The 2012 reissue through Spread the Metal Records really isn’t different from the original independent release the band issued in 2010. The main difference here is that this is going to carry the label’s information and seal, as well as officially distribute the album throughout North America. Aside those subtle things, this reissue has the same track listing, as well as the same album artwork. Obviously if you have the original pressing directly from Fallen Joy, then there is no real reason to obtain a copy of this, but if you haven’t heard of the group yet, unless you can track that original copy down or the band has one they can sell you, this is really the best way to add this promising album to your collection.
Order to Die is a very impressive debut EP, and it’s surprising that it took the band this long to find a label willing to distribute it, even if it is just in North America. Fallen Joy have plenty of potential, and they really put it all on display with this EP. Granted the final song isn’t the most amazing, but it still ends up being a good song regardless, but it’s the tracks before it that will leave a lasting impact on the listener. Even if you don’t feel compelled enough to pick up this album, then it will be well worth the time to at least look into this band. There may still be a little room to grow for this group, but one thing is certain with just one simple spin through the release, and that is this: Fallen Joy is a band that is prime to be the next break out Melodic Death Metal act.
01. Morituri te Salutant – 1:03
02. Order to Die – 3:30
03. Hoisting the Black Flag – 4:22
04. Seeds of Tyranny – 6:11
05. Voyage Au Bout De La Nuit – 6:56
|Initial Pressing Score: 9/10
2012 Reissue Score: 9/10