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CD Feature/ Fear Falls Burning: "The Amplifier Drone"

img  Tobias

Dirk Serries handed me over a copy of „The Amplifier Drone“ personally, just an hour before his concert at the „Cuba Kultur“, promising (and warning) me that it was an entirely different Fear Falls Burning record. This, in itself, was not a big surprise. After all, the project’s formula has been mutating throughout, going from Post Rock structures via shamanic, guitar-based drones to richly detailed epic sound scapes. Each release gave a slight twist to the defining parameters, changing the band’s course and feel. The only aspect important to Serries was keeping everything “close to his heart”. He has taken this quite literally here – and invited over a good friend.

Together with Paul van den Berg, a local blues musician, Dirk has set out for a more aggressive and rough sound, turning up the volume and intensifying the physical aspects of his music. The accompanying post card recommends “playing at higher volume” and on this occasion, this is not a stereotypical demand. If some of the delicate textures on previous works can be compared to the art of calligraphy, then the duo has now turned to milling and sculpting from metal. Judging by the sound of his contributions, van den Berg is a purveyor of the old-school Blues philosophy, where every note represents a needle-sharp sting into the soul. Subsequently, his tones squeak and scream, groan and moan and huff and puff like a diying machine on a scrap yard. One can almost see his face twitching as he strikes another string, a new chord, a different shade of pain. The very beginning of the record, the first minutes of the tripart “echoes”, is a perfect introduction into a space of distorted harmonics, tortured melodies and sluggish development. Actually, some of the material sounds like the final stages of Serries’ lenghty excursions on “He spoke in dead tongues”, when feedback, effects and multiple layers of sound had merged into a forceful flow. After this almost primeval start, the album switches to a higher level, however, becoming more pensive and withdrawn. Especially the flipside, “on_dead_air”, connected to its predecessor by a variation on the same theme, opens out into an impressive vulcanic landscape of brightly shining erruptions. For what seems like eternity, things stubbornly carry on, before a tiny pattern disrupts the mantra.

On paper, the addition of another  electric guitar merely turns “The Amplifier Drone” into Fear Falls Burning by the power of two. On listening, however, it is a great deal more. While “The Carnival of ourselves” was an instant love-affair, this one might take a few spins, before one will fully appreciate it. But then it is all the more impressive. All the elements of the early albums are in place, but moulded into a more threatening and even deeper context. Rather than being an entirely different record, this is a determined step forward. Can’t wait for the next one.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Fear Falls Burning
Homepage: Tone Float Records

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