The Dutch The Black Fall is a fairly new band which started in 2012. After a two song demo, the band started working on a full album, while in the meantime they started to play supporting shows for Kong, Ten Years After and Focus. Menno Gootjes, guitarist of the latter band choose to be their coaching manager and used his expertise to make the band grow in their musical ambitions.
With The Time Traveller, the quartet presents their debut of four compositions, from which two clock around the fifteen minutes. The opener Threshold Of Love And Death immediately grabs the attention, this song is a powerful combination of progressive rock / metal and by the continuing changes during this song, the length of fourteen and a half minute only gets better. Both vocalists, guitar player Stefan Herbers and bass player Luuk Ter Denge have very pleasant voices, which stays in the range that is comfortable; one of them has a delicate roughness in his voice that sounds very pleasant. Also the fact that some of the vocal parts are slightly computerized, creates a special atmosphere. Although there are some influences of Haken in the vocal lines, the similarity stops there, or you must see the complexity of the song as a Haken influence. Nevertheless, the opening track as itself should be more than enough to purchase the album, a wonderful heavy technical progressive metal song that combines all the fine elements to one coherent piece of music. During the following, Sonmi 4.5.1 the effect laden vocals only get stronger. Sonmi 4.5.1 differs very much from the previous song and sees a more Steven Wilson meets Amplifier plus post rock style and is played, like the prior composition, flawlessly. Tiemen Claus gets to show some fine double bass drum parts, but for me the most impressive parts are the guitar driven instrumental escapades of The Black Fall, which have a nice powerful drive. The shortest song of the album; Modern Day Slave is next; fine staccato guitar parts of Wouter Lubbers are the base of this alternative, accessible track, that basically drifts away from the heavy progressiveness of the opening track. What surprises me is the way the songs on the album seem to develop, from the heavy progressive Threshold Of Love And Death to the final title track The Time Traveller, which remains progressive, but also has embedded another kind of progressive music. Still the fine riffs in John Petrucci style are amazing, but there is an additional alternative element woven into the tracks. For me a great addition, which only helps the band to create a sound of their own. Due to the subtle parts, the contrasting powerful riffs, both the opener as well as the finishing track, are the highlights for me.
With the release of The Time Traveller, The Black Fall shows they are a mature progressive rock band from the Netherlands. The Time Traveller is a brilliant way to start a career and it makes me curious as to the band's next step towards world domination.
****+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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