Fear The Fallen – ‘The Order’ (Sound House Records) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Jonni D   
Monday, 18 December 2017 04:00

Fear The Fallen artworkWe all know of albums that have left an immediate impression on us, be that for better or worse.  Then we have the growers; those gems who patiently reveal their intricacies to us layer by layer.  And, of course, there is that unenviable category of a record that no matter how many times you listen to it will fail to leave any kind of indelible mark, or elicit much emotion whatsoever from the listener.  Unfortunately, the latter case best sums up the experience of Fear The Fallen’s debut effort.

 

The difficulty of evaluating ‘The Order’ as a record in its own right is largely down to the overall competency of the musicianship on offer.  The Lancashire quartet delivers a fairly eclectic mix of modern metalcore and melodic hard rock through a filter of effect-laden ambiance.  Instrumentally speaking, its mostly impressive stuff: the searing guitar leads of the (slightly superfluous) intro ‘The Life’ and ‘Rise Or Defend’ are entirely effective, rousing parts.  ‘Reaper’ adopts noughties style metalcore riffing à la Trivium, with pulsing grooves augmenting some admirable lead gymnastics, all before a short but sweet mid-tempo breakdown.  All in all, there’s enough to admire.  What ‘The Order’ crucially lacks, however, is anything much in the way of concrete songwriting.

 

Although seemingly presented as something of a concept piece through its use of PSA connective interludes, this comes across as a bit of an afterthought in the overall flow of the album.  This could be salvageable were it not for Fear The Fallen’s melodic ineptness when it comes to vocal parts.

 

Let it be noted that frontman, Christian Slater, clearly has some chops; at times reminiscent of Chester Bennington and Layne Staley, other times sounding not a million miles off Myles Kennedy’s higher range.  While his technical proficiency can’t be faulted, his utilisation of his voice and lack of any discernible melodic lines become extremely problematic.  In the hands of a more accomplished band, ‘Rise Or Defend’ could be the fist-pumping anthem the band obviously aimed for, but with the current non-chorus it comes across as flat and clumsy.  ‘What You Believe’ fares a similar fate, held down by hair metal style vocal acrobatics that simply don’t work at all with the musical backdrop.  Things start to look promising with the (albeit cheesy) gang vocal chanting intro to ‘Powder, Plot and Treason’ and its sleazy, overblown hard rock riff.  Unfortunately, this rare moment of a memorable vocal hook is never returned to, the band instead opting for yet another underwhelming refrain. 

 

There is evidence of a potentially greater band within ‘The Order.’  ‘Fade Away’ proves to be a cut above everything else on the record; a heavily atmospheric, piano-led ballad with atypical staccato guitar lines and an undeniably emotive performance from Slater.  Regardless, this song is a solitary oasis of success in a desert of stapled-together musical parts and melodic barrenness. 

 

Technical prowess aside, Fear The Fallen’s debut is an endurance test of a listening experience, with little to show for it at the end. 

‘The Order’ is out now. You can get your copy HERE.

 

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