fall of efrafa - elil


.:: With each year that passes and each new band that marches in under the banner of atmospheric doom-sludge-post-metal comes and goes, the excitement and flare of metal’s artistic side seems to have gotten a bit stale. Fortunately, Britain’s Fall of Efrafa are here to prove that their special breed of hardcore “crust-punk” can be just as epic and creative without succumbing to ambient pseudo-doom shenanigans. Keep your labels at home—this isn’t post-rock, post-metal, post-hardcore, or even progressive metal. It is a grandiose tale of mankind’s most pitiful disease, told through tormenting sounds of raw intensity and aggression.

Elil is the second installment of a trilogy called “The Warren of Snares,” which is highly influenced by the novel Watership Down by Richard Adams. Accordingly the album’s lyrical content deals mostly with the rejection of religion (specifically Christianity) and all of its destructive forces. Structurally, the most striking feature of the album is the length of its songs—three tracks summing up to an over 60-minute album—incredibly long for a style which is known by definition for its brevity. Despite the length of the tracks, the band still maintains a relatively clean-cut hardcore style. As a result, there is unfortunately an overabundance of slow build-ups in between the exciting segments that often overstay their welcome. For many, this issue will most likely come down to a matter of taste, but personally I could have done without a 6-minute single-melody intro to the first track.

Shortcomings aside, the band deserves due praise for approaching the ever-popular style of epic song structure without turning into another faceless Neur-Isis clone. In staying true to their hardcore punk roots in Elil, Fall of Efrafa have chosen to join the next generation of extreme music with a style all their own.

.:: We can’t demand that every band comes up with a unique or innovative sound. It’s simply preposterous. Plus, let’s face it; about 80% of experimentations are not even worth hearing. So we should embrace bands that concentrate in songwriting and shall not always put them down simply because they tread on the blues based rock of AC/DC, the intricate jazz metal guitar patterns of Atheist, the humongous suckiness levels of Kiss, the ties of The Hives or the mustache from that Converge dude. That said, UK’s Fall of Efrafa sound a hell of a lot like Neurosis, except….except nothing. But Elil is awesome all the same. Much like the best material from the San Francisco leaders Fall of Efrafa’s crusty post rock takes its time to get stirred. Unlike Neurosis though, once these young lads get going there ain’t no stopping.

Elil is comprised of three cuts; all long, expansive and seemingly themselves comprised by several movements. The first one “Beyond the Veil” goes from dead quiet, to heavy, to faster heavy only to slowly bring down the speed (which is not that fast any way), give way to an acoustic passage that lays flat and works as a breather before the tune gets heavy again. The riffs are simple, two to three notes, open and breathing freely for over twenty minutes.

Elil is the second part (following the first part Owsla) in the band’s The Warren of Snares trilogy. Like all trilogies, there must be concordant ideas flowing here. Elil, for instance, means predator and this record as a whole deals with the evils of predatory religious institutions, ‘Ignorant belief systems that sway the minds of a large proportion of humanity on this planet, blinding us as we pollute and rape the earth’. So you get the idea. Fall of Efrafa, like Neurosis is not out here simply to rock out, but also to wake you up and then inform. But beyond all the concepts and ideas, Elil is solid and simple too. At least musically, more blunt, direct and uncomplicated than the band’s objectives.

When second cut “Dominion Theology” kicks in, it’s clear this quintet doesn’t complicate itself; the riff is grand, but because of its own constitution it sticks itself in the brain, the vocals of Alex are growled but legible, easy to understand. Elil was produced by Peter Miles, who has worked with a lot of English bands, but expect to hear more stuff produced by this guy. Elil sounds great, Miles could have gone for a rougher angle, but has instead dished out a very natural sounding record with great acoustics. The package is also gorgeous, a collaborative work of Germany’s Alerta Antifascista, England’s Sound devastation and Milwaukee’s Halo of Flies.

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