This is a review of a re-release, which I am undertaking because I re-gretfully missed the window of opportunity to write about it on its original unveiling. Since the lovely chaps at Fall of the Archetype re-cently decided to re-mix and re-invigorate their EP, I re-lished the opportunity to re-flect, re-listen, re-minisce and re-order my thoughts about it.
FotA write Melodic Tech-Metal with occasional punky touches that do a decent job of separating their sound from the homogenised mass of palm-muted and over-driven bands that have sprung up over the last couple of years. Indeed one of their main strengths is the playful way that they engage with syncopation.
In a genre where drums are often limited to propelling or brutalising the melody of a song, the drumming on Psynopsis manages to be both bombastic and intelligent. It drives and slides with the same delicate sense of adventure, dancing to its own tune, without neglecting its responsibilities to the current 4 minute mission. It also displays a swathe of danceable, non-metallic influences, infusing the drums with a vibrant sense of personality.
There are plenty of virile, compelling grooves to be found here. This is to be expected as FotA are the other band of Valis Ablaze's Tom Moore. Although superficially these grooves may sound Djentile and Techish in their modality, there is a subtle Latin flavour in how they are presented. With plosive stops that melt into intricate swirls; achieved with a winking charm reminiscent of 80's vibe monsters Miami Sound Machine, gone rogue.
They work admirably well together as a band; unified in their efforts to reach what is, a subtle and nuanced goal. Their songs are strong without being powerfully memorable, meaning that they live strongly in the moment but just fail to make that final leap into cerebral permanence. For me this is because of the somewhat insipid and thin nature of the vocals. They sit with a ghostly presence atop the music. The melodies that they present are of significant quality and interest, its simply that the reedy, emaciated cleans and the rather generic roughs fail to meet the level of individuality present in the rest of the music. Please do not think that they are for one moment bad or faltering, this is only a comment on their mostly passive nature.
Even though this is only an 6 track EP FotA manage to employ a broad array of tempo's; from double-time bossa-nova, through stiff limbed Tech sprints to several sincerely applied breakdowns. The latter seem to become subsumed within the wider context of the song and don't seem to championed in the way they would be if FotA were a Deathcore band. This however seems to be a trope of Tech Metal and not something that I can blame these lads for. Perhaps something to consider for next time they are in the studio.
The production is a little cold by contemporary standards, but the re-mix has provided a clarity and sense of propulsive power that was missing first time around. In a world of pointless remasters and tweaking was well worth undertaking.
In conclusion, I would certainly recommend this record to anyone who has a fondness for Djent infused song-writing or groovy Techmetal. It is filled with a jubilant sense of harmony which they explore in a passionate and un-cliched manner. This is a intelligent record, full of pliant riffs and emotive melodies. But is a EP that wears its learning lightly, never over-burdening the listener, which is always the best way; allowing them to enjoy at their leisure.
– John Whitmore