Let’s start today with something raw and crushing in the form of Farer and their debut album Monad, dropping this Friday through Aesthetic Death and Tartarus Records, in partnership with Anubi Press.
If you aren’t familiar with Farer, the band hail from the Netherlands and original formed as MENHIR back in 2013. The band features members from doom/sludge act Ortega which has two full-lengths under its belt. The band is Frank de Boer (bass and vocals), Arjan van Dalen (bass and vocals) and Sven Jurgens (drums and percussion). You may have noticed that i listed bass twice and didn’t mention guitar, well that’s not a typo. The band features two bass players rather than having any guitar present in their music. This works well for their unique blend of doom, drone, sludge, noise, post metal and black metal.
Before I break down the album, I would just like to share a statement that the band made about the album, because it’s extremely accurate. They said that, “traversing the absolute –’Monad’ is a testament to suffering. Heavy grinding riffs and deep pulsating rhythms; a restless stirring. Amidst all these layers we hear the human voice as a primal wordless scream – the shock of being. We feel the dissonance of forces vying for existence and the harmony of lightless oblivion. Whispers of unfathomable truths emerge from the static.”
The album features four tracks coming in at 52:40 in total, the first of which is Pahnes, coming in at 13:07. The track is an immediate introduction to what the band and the album are all about. The track primarily features the two layers of bass work, one low and rumbling, laden with feedback and distortion, the other riding over the top of it and leading the rhythm on the album in partnership with the drums. The vocals are pained shrieks very much in the DSBM (depressive suicidal black metal) style and reminds me a lot of bands like the more obvious Lifelover, but more specifically Gramary and Apati. The music itself though has a lot of heavily atmosphere laden segments that draw in elements of drone and at times post metal. Instrumental elements from DSBM also make their way into the track and are accompanied by lyricless soothing clean singing, which is especially effective when contrasted with the harsh shrieked vocals.
Track 2 Asulon is even longer, coming in at 14:18 and is much more of a slow burn, taking 2 and a half minutes to really get into the track. This time we have clean vocals with actual lyrics, which manage to poke through the thick and depressive atmosphere of the instrumentals. Things continue like this until we start to approach the 5-minute mark where we get harsh noise elements which lead us into the harsh DSBM style vocals. The song then picks up speed and energy and actually begins to remind me of bands such as Neurosis or ISIS for a while there, combining sludge and post metal elements with shouted vocals. The remainder of the song is a blend between black metal style instrumentals and crushingly heavy doom/sludge instrumentals that are combined to make something truly unique.
The third track Moros opens with an epic and somewhat haunting tone to it, there’s a definite focus on atmosphere here. The band definitely experiment more on this track, with plenty of harsh noise elements thrown into the mix. From feedback to unrecognizable sound clips layered over the top of the heavy and depressive instrumental work, this song is definitely the least traditional on the album. Around the 5-minute mark things start to pick up pace and shift into a post metal and sludge blend. We get some technical and impressive bass work for much of the middle of the track. The vocals are a layered blend between the DSBM style vocals and the shouted harsh sludge style. The last third or so of the song returns to the more atmospheric and experimental side of things. The vocals simmer down to the DSBM style, but they’re faded and at a lower volume, calling through the music which is less heavy and aggressive.
Track 4 Elpis is the final song on the album and wraps things up nicely. The song is an even mix of harsh/heavy/aggressive and atmospheric and elements. There is a constant ebb and flow in the music between the two realms, creating something truly unique in the middle. There are definite doom/black metal blended influences for a lot of the song and the vocals in parts are a layered blend of the two vocal styles just as in track 3. The song follows this back and forth through to its conclusion, bringing the album to a close.
Overall, this is a fantastic offering of harsh and heavy music, featuring plenty of innovative and captivating elements. The band’s unique lineup featuring two bass players and no guitar works well to suit their sound and style. This is further complimented by the use of three distinctive vocal styles, the DSBM style, clean vocals and the harsh shouted sludge style. These elements and the use of experimental harsh noise elements creates something truly special. So if you’re a fan of boundary pushing music then you’re going to want to check this one out.
Listen to the album and place your pre-orders below:
Listen to the full album thanks to Invisible Oranges:
Watch the video for Phanes thanks to The Obelisk:
Order the album below: