ALL THINGS FALLEN - All Things Fallen
For those who can’t get enough melodic prog metal, All Things Fallen will be a new welcome friend. Markus Sigfridsson (Harmony, Darkwater, 7days) has a lot to say – both musically and lyrically. And apparently, the recent Darkwater release Human, was just one expression or his artistic output (the other his input to Lance King’s latest ReProgram), because this new independent 6 track recording delivers plenty of riff-infested, melodic prog. While some of this material does indeed resemble Darkwater, there is enough of a different slant to the music to make All Things Fallen both engaging and entertaining for its own merits. Markus wrote all the music for this release and contributes guitars, keys and (for the first time) limited supporting and lead vocals. He is joined by the talented Leo Margarit (Pain of Salvation) on drums and vocalist Erik Tordsson (End of September). Erik supplies the bulk of the vocals and the best way I can describe his style/vocal quality is a mix of Henrik Bath and Andy Kuntz (Vanden Plas). In fact, in many ways, All Things Fallen sounds like a cross between Vanden Plas and Darkwater, although there is more keyboard presence and more vocal narrative here … and a slightly darker vibe overall.
It’s tempting to call this 6-track an EP, but that would be misleading because at 39 minutes duration – with 4 of the tracks clocking in over 6 minutes – this is really a full album’s worth of new material. The sound quality is robust, akin to that of the recent Darkwater release, with plenty of low-end presence. I have listened to this album on 3 different systems, and on a smaller speaker set-up, you can’t really appreciate the bass. However, on a system with larger speakers and/or subwoofers, there is a very powerful bass tone push coming through. In fact, the bass drum is way up front in the mix, and Margarit does a nice job of mixing up eighth and sixteenth notes, interspersing syncopated kicks, so the rhythm doesn’t stagnate or become repetitive. Most importantly, this CD/digital version isn’t plagued by annoying treble overtones or “loudness” over-compression. The CD comes packaged in digi with simple 4-page lyric booklet with artwork (nice black/red motif) that mirrors the cover.
Lyrically, this album falls in line with many of the more recent releases in the progressive genre – a scathing description of society’s dependence on technology and the world order’s geopolitical control of governments, wars, and their control of information and money.
“The doorway to perception/and the ever-watching eye/the step to illumination/and the forming of a god complex … Sons and daughters for sale/where is your soul?/Where is your shame?/Can you see through this mother of all lies?” – “Ex Nehilo”
Musically, this album is quite robust, a nice rhythmic crunch driving most of the songs along-side plenty of drum pace and power. In comparison to Darkwater, the keyboard synths are more exposed and a bit more complex and noteworthy. This is readily apparent on the opening track “I Wait For You,” where the keys are featured during the intro. This pattern persists on most of the songs, which serves to keep the music in a more modern/progressive context. Markus also shreds a few smoking guitar solos on this release, the tasteful plucking on the opening track and on “Mirages” just a few examples. It all works well, but I think the biggest surprise would be the vocal contributions from Markus. He backs up a few songs here, but his vocal leads on the beautiful “In The Divide,” where his haunting tones are featured in the chorus sections, are quite elegant. I love this song on so many levels – the lyrical imagery inspiring – and the violin is so perfectly positioned in the mix, reminiscent of how Believer used this instrument on Dimensions. There is a bit of dialogue going in the narrative on a few tracks, which may be distracting for some, but I think the words help to clarify the message here and they don’t overly distract from the music.
My favorite song would be “When Your Heroes Fall” because its so dynamic. The opening ethereal guitar lead is then followed by this doomy riff section, and then the keys transition into the heavy, up-tempo verse and chorus. The background vocals give this song that Accept/power metal “monks on metal” vibe. But then mid song, things shift back to the doomy side. A very cool synth riff accompanied by power metal chords transitions back into the heavy/fast section lead by a ripping guitar lead/solo. This song, to me, best encapsulates, the qualities that make All Things Fallen legit.
Release Date: Out Now (Available from Ulterium Records)
1. I Wait For You (4:59)
2. Mirages (6:09)
3. In The Divide (7:01)
4. Ex Nihilo (6:20)
5. When Your Heroes Fall (5:28)
6. Introspection (9:16)