Man! Have you ever had a band stop you cold; dead in your tracks? Just absolutely blow you away; leaving you wondering how in the hell the band ever got past you before that moment they grabbed your attention? Well, this recently happened to me when Dragon suggested I check out Fall of Messiah’s latest release, “Empty Colors” which was released earlier this year. “This is definitely your kind of thing” he said. “I’d cover it, but this is right up your alley.” Yes. It definitely is. Hook, line and sinker! It drives straight through me, even after listening to it endless times. Way to much to take in with a single listen. I may be a little late to the party, but remain awestruck by this French band from Saint Jans Cappel.
“Empty Colors” is a culmination of two years of effort by this French Post–Hardcore/Post–Rock/formerly “Screamo” powerhouse. Don’t get too wrapped up around categorization here though, because the importance, diversity and beauty of this release could get watered down trying to pigeonhole the Fall of Messiah sound. Having the influences of Pg. Lost, Pianos Become the Teeth and Kaospilot, members Sul, Meul, Fly, Benou and Tcheussss (they even have the class to include former member Keb when referring to their lineup) have created a stirring, emotionally charged, intelligent and brilliantly composed conceptual, (mostly) instrumental album that is so cohesive that listening to a single song almost seems out of place. Taken in its entirety, “Empty Colors” moves effortlessly from soft, moving and atmospheric to fast, “mathy” and heavy and back again without so much as taking a breath. In a recent interview/spotlight with Arctic Drones, Fall of Messiah stated: “’Empty Colors’ is a fatalist image of the time passing in people’s life, as the colors of life are fading in solitude… This is our vision of the endless struggle of being alone, by choice or not. ‘Empty Colors” means: ‘End My Pain, These Yelling Colors Of Life, Of Resigned Sadness.’” In keeping with the theme of colors, all songs titles cleverly and thoughtfully reference the colors of grey, blue, black, copper/yellow, rust/red and green; even using the term synesthesia, which are sounds that induce the visualization of color, in the opening song title. Tension and release are extreme throughout this magnificent release but never overly soft and cheesy or harsh and angry while never becoming schizophrenic. Adding to the spectacular and beautifully complex songwriting of Fall of Messiah is its musical execution of their visionary album. Guitar work ranges from heartbreaking (I was left in tears at points) or lovely, finger-picked clean sections and songs to tasteful and fitting tremolo-picked and heavily distorted verses with heavy rhythms building tension that is then turned on a dime to medium tempo’ed bridges. Bass is used in a traditional manner most of the time but is also used to create a thick atmosphere during more intense passages. Likewise, drums are appropriately used to hold this constantly changing time signature and mood while cymbals are used extensively to add a unique depth as needed. Even the use of cello, a choir and subtle screaming are used to cleverly expand the desired mood. Again, nothing is overdone anywhere on “Empty Colors”. No notes unconsidered and/or wasted. In all honesty, this may be one of the most well thought through albums I have heard in an awfully long time. It is stunningly good, no matter how it is viewed. A true testimony to just how good music can be made and a testament to the overwhelming talent encompassed by Fall of Messiah. Even the gorgeous, hand drawn cover art was done by their drummer. Almost too much collective talent for one band to have. Simply amazing…
“Empty Colors” is Fall of Messiah’s fourth album and a change from their normally, extended length songs; each song being six minutes or less as opposed to songs as long as eighteen minutes with screaming vocals and a strictly heavy version of their current sound. They have also drifted closer and closer to becoming an instrumental band, which I am a complete sucker for. After listening to all of their material, Fall of Messiah has gone from a really good, heavy Post–Hardcore band to one of the most interesting, creative and genre-neutral bands out there. “Empty Colors” is a musical masterpiece and one of the best releases so far in 2016 in my humble opinion. If their next album takes them two more years to create, I can wait because I cannot imagine this ever getting old. A real gem that truly deserves world-wide attention.
Empty Colors (2016) songlist:
“The Grey Heart Blues”
“I Always Thought that One Day Everything Would Be Settled, But Everything Just Went Black”
“Alors on en est là, à pisser sur du cuivre…” (“So There We Are, Pissing on Copper”)
How to See Beyond Fields (2014)
How to Conceive a Bridge Between Circles (2011)
How to Build a Chariot (2008)
More about Fall of Messiah can be found on: