Fallen Man – Reborn

Fallen Man is a rather different breed of industrial metal; when you hear such a term, you probably think of thick, martial rhythms and chugging guitar lines ala Fear Factory. Instead, Fallen Man is sort of the less flamboyant, more metal cousin of KMFDM, or perhaps a very laid-back version of Ministry. While the industrial influences are very subdued, it’s seems to be a clearly industrial album still; it’s just hard to define how such a sound is carried across. The tempo of the music here isn’t anywhere near Ministry hyperblast territory; it’s more in the realm of dancey KMFDM rhythms, and, oddly enough, the slower the band goes, the better the music becomes. Hell, some of the best moments on ‘Reborn’ are when the band is approaching doom tempo and pounding away with slow, epic riffs.

A lot of the material on ‘Reborn’ has its roots in the ’80s, if not the ’70s. You can detect a lot of Deep Purple and Judas Priest influence on songs like ‘Cassidy’, with their hard rock riffing and drumming. There is other, more modern stuff as well: some material seems like Soundgarden with a harder, more industrial sound, and some is quite modern. But overall, the general sonic presence is from the early ’90s or earlier, apart from a few notable exceptions. Riffing is quite varied; there’s some faster, thrashy riffing, much like newer Ministry, mid-paced rock material, and best of all, the massive, eternally held doom chords on the slowest tracks. I get almost a Godflesh feel from the darkest, most oppressive tracks on this album, even though the music here is about the exact opposite of ‘Streetcleaner’. The mood is just there on the best of tracks like ‘Trust Betrayer’ and ‘4th Of July’ (the latter in particular is incredible, with the raspy vocals and apocalyptic lyrics really creating a flawless atmosphere).

Really, I would love to hear an album from these guys of nothing but slow, ultra-crushing songs like those two. The fast material is very good and catchy and a pleasing listen on its own, but it absolutely pales in comparison to the mid-paced dirges that Fallen Man really excels at. The production helps such a mood, with the strangely dull, brackish guitar tone, bubbly bass sound and sharp drums and vocals. The vocals in particular are a really good part of the music here, and the harsher they get, the better they work with the music, so the deep growls of ‘Trust Betrayer’ are probably the most compelling on the album. Overall, it’s a good package that can only be better with a bigger emphasis on atmosphere and pure crushing heaviness.

‘Reborn’ is a really good album for the industrial metal fan. Those who dig the sound of guys like KMFDM or Ministry will certainly want to give the material here a try, as well as others looking for a different spin on the industrial metal sound. You can’t go wrong with quality material like this.

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~ by noktorn on November 10, 2007.

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