Fear Falls Burning - “Function Collapse” [Album Review]

- Apr 12, 2019 at 01:00PM
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Function Collapse is a challenging piece (split in twain) that recalls the work of Keiji Haino and Sumac from last year. Here we have an intimidating combination of renowned post-metal musicians collaborating with a mysterious composer. In this case, Dirk Serries, who may appear more familiar under his Vidna Obmana pseudonym. Initially a solo exercise in minimalism, Fear Falls Burning has expanded for live performances to include members of Switchblade, Nihill, and former tour-mates - Cult of Luna. This recorded iteration of FFB also showcases the work of Tim Bertilsson on drums and the pumping lungs of Colin Webster on tenor saxophone.

The approach to recording doesn’t seem all that distant from that of American Dollar Bill either. Although an overarching shape might be in place, it seems that, for the most part, these compositions are of a largely improvised nature. The soundscapes are careful and patient. Time is given to the slender top-end drones that fight for shearing light. Function Collapse, whilst primarily interested in the power and unity of sustained sounds, operates in a different stratosphere to the likes of Sunn O)))’s wallowing drifts.

These are resolute squalls that flex into discordant horn anguish. We hear the pale shrieks of the hopeless. There is care taken in holding back from the peak, resisting the full-blooded frenzy of feedback. Rhythms that have stoically awaited their opportunity repeat like the actions of torture artists. Or, perhaps, they are more akin to sightless drones carpet bombing an area that has shifted from city to rubble to chasm. These singular looping drums crush through repetition rather than bum-rushing the listener. The methodology here is suggestive of industrial music’s unrelenting cadence even if the tone is lighter and there is a greater abundance of space between sounds.

Experience the Function Collapse album trailer here.


Part two begins in a similar manner: A single note stretching out, growing. It wavers as it wanders out into an oblique void. Like a blind worm burrowing through peat. In its wake the dirt crumbles. Structures are transient. Webster’s sax appears much sooner in this segment. It heralds an awakening, a rising sun. Breaking beams of brightness through the meandering gloom.

This is free jazz roaming whilst the low drones surge and skittering drumsticks terrorise cymbals. It’s free form but controlled and without malice. A dusky setting for a brass freakout. The drums always threaten to crash in but never quite do. Just an ecstatic twinkle of restraint. This refusal to deliver a Pavlovian crescendo leaves mouths salivating and hunger un-sated. In this era of instant gratification perhaps it’s honourable to leave us gasping for more.

Function Collapse Track Listing:

01. Part One - Side A
02. Part Two - Side B

Run Time: 31:07
Release Date: April 12, 2019
Record Label: Consouling Sounds
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