There’s a reason we have album titles you know. A good one helps make your album memorable, and an album title can make all the difference in convincing a customer to pick up your record and see what a band has to offer. And as I discovered with the new False album, when the band decides to leave all their releases untitled, occasionally you can end up listening to the wrong album for a minute with a growing sense of worry at the familiarity of the material before realizing your mistake. Fortunately, upon locating the actual record and hitting play it became clear that False are far too busy writing expansive black metal to worry about such petty things as names. Whatever the hell it’s called, the debut full length is a ripper, an abrasive, intricate and rewarding listen that lives up to all the potential they showed on….let’s just call it the other one.
False have stepped it up for this release. In comparison with their other work, the production is much more polished. In some ways, I enjoyed the slightly off production of their EP, as at times it gave the songs a queasy, sickening vibe that jived well with the atmosphere of the music. However, the trade-off is worth it, as for the first time we are hearing False in all their glory and the experience is a real pleasure. The crisp sound of the new album highlights the level of musicianship on display here. The songs are dizzyingly technical, packed full of little nuances and details that make the music impossible to fully absorb on first listen, and most likely on second and third listen too. The songs are always engaging, but they fight understanding, making it that much more exciting when a part clicks mentally and you begin to unravel the intricate dance the instruments are doing around each other. Some black metal fights understanding by shrouding itself in foggy production. False instead work their magic out in the open and so what they have achieved here is even more impressive.
Despite the clarity on the production side of things, False have not gone soft. If anything, this is the most caustic music they have released, often highly dissonant, underpinned by ferocious drumming and vocals to match. Even in its slower moments it often feels designed to push the listener away, the music almost self-involved, as if it will change the tone when it is ready, not the listener. But this only adds to the record’s overall feeling of integrity: it is expressive music rather than music designed cynically to push buttons, and gives each part all the attention it needs. The result is an album that needs work to absorb (even with the inherent cool factor of many of the riffs), but that gives a giant rush when you do begin to feel the pieces of the musical puzzle slide together.
False are at the peak of their powers here, with an album that rewards attention and repeated listens with layers of musical secrets, making it more than worth the effort to track down the right album. The untitled track from the untitled album is embedded below and you can listen to the whole record on False’s Bandcamp.