Release Date: 7th August 2020
Record Label: Self released
For Fans Of: Night Verses, Dance Gavin Dance, Coheed & Cambria
You’d be forgiven for thinking that The Fall Of Troy are trying to be the new Tool; with their fairly sporadic album releases punctuated by long interims, they’re doing a pretty good job. At least TFOT had the decency to say they’d split up for a period though, and didn’t do the musical equivalent of ghosting… But anyway, tangents aside, hooray! A new album from The Fall Of Troy! Being four years since their previous album (which itself was their first in seven years, due to disbandment), loyal fans are long overdue for another dose of proggy, mathy goodness.
Mukiltearth (taken from the band’s home city of Mukilteo) is the sixth full length release from the post-hardcore legends, and marks a significant change to their typical albums. Stylistically, it still resembles a TFOT album, but is divided in two. The first six tracks are some of the band’s oldest songs (‘Chain Wallet, Nike Shoes’ being the first song the band ever wrote), rewritten or reworked for this release. The remaining four tracks are brand new compositions, resulting in a total time-span of roughly fifteen years for the whole album (come to think of it, they ARE like Tool…).
Due to the lengthy gap between writing sessions, it would be remiss to say there isn’t a noticeable difference between the two halves. One would assume the older tracks would resemble a more ‘true’ The Fall Of Troy sound, recreating the glory days of Doppelgänger (and boy, what glory days they were), while the new material will have deviated into new territories. Strangely, the opposite has proven itself true. The first half of the record presents a more mellow vibe (don’t worry, it’s still pretty wacky), with track ‘Mirrors Are More Fun Than Television’ being a particularly subdued moment, featuring next to no screamed vocals and having more in common with the likes of Coheed & Cambria than The Number Twelve Looks Like You. Conversely, the final four tracks sound as chaotic as ever, showcasing the frenetic drumming and guitar interchange amongst the band, as well as showing the trio have lost nothing with age.
What is most appealing about Mukiltearth is how at home it feels within The Fall Of Troy’s back catalogue. One may argue that the band’s style of progressive/post-hardcore/math-rock (if you can provide a more concise description, please do) is past its heyday, and may expect the three-piece to drastically change with the times. Yes there has been development of their sound, the occasional expansive passage of sparse guitar for example, but no die hard TFOT fans will walk away from this record disappointed. The instrumentation provides as massive a sound as ever (always impressive when there’s only one guitar), the tracks flow into each other seamlessly, and the balance between playful guitar wizardry and aggressive riffing is perfect. As you’d expect, Thomas Erak makes full use of his pedal-board, earning his title of ‘best use of a phase pedal’ rightly so (move over, Eddie Van Halen). The call and response vocals maintains the schizophrenic sound one longs for from dual vocals, rather than the simple – and rather predictable – ‘light and shade’ approach (“you do some screaming in the verse, I’ll do some singing in the chorus”).
Being a massive fan of the band (if that wasn’t clear already), it’s great to have a new release from The Fall Of Troy. But seeing as it is a record of two halves, and fairly disparate halves, the latter four tracks provide the nostalgia more so (better to end the record on a high). This isn’t to say the older tracks are inferior, but are merely lacking the full on chaotic nature that the rest of the album demonstrates. And if you hate the more mellow side of the band, hey, can’t complain about having four new mental tracks from The Fall Of Troy, can you! Here’s hoping gigs come back soon so we can hear these bad boys live…
Recommended Tracks: ‘The Day The Strength of Men Failed’, ‘Knife Fight at the Mormon Church’, ‘Round House’
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