Reido – F:\all

Most funeral doom could hardly be construed as an ‘easy listen’, but compared to Reido, something like Skepticism is practically elevator music.  It’s not that it’s slow or heavy or dark, it’s that the very fabric of the music seems more oppressive than most.  It’s not just slow, it’s plodding.  It’s not just heavy, it’s decrepit and collapsing.  And, unusually, it’s not ‘dark’ as we know it; it’s more like a neutral perspective of a world-wide technogenic collapse.  There’s very few times that the art of an album has reflected its sound and themes as well as this one does.

Reido’s music is a very sludgy, abstract variety of funeral doom that really has little relation to much ‘traditional’ funeral doom out there today.  It’s EXTREMELY minimalistic and dry, with very sparse melodies and rhythms throughout; the gaps between notes are a sort of instrument of their own.  Drums (live, fortunately) are plodding and sparse.  Guitar alternates between dramatic power chords and small, atonal clean channel work with an ethereal tone contrasting with the bright, grinding distortion that defines the heavier sections.  A very prominent bass is often the leading instrument, weaving strange, mystical, fragmented melodic sections under the guitars.  Vocals are very sparsely employed, and generally only during the wandering clean sections; they’re a deep growl in the Skepticism vein.

This stuff is a VERY tough listen.  The best track on this album, ‘Frozen Terror’, is the most ‘active’ if that word can even be used in the context of ‘F:\all’.  It has a fairly regular, driving rhythm section and a speed that hovers around sixty beats per minute most of the time.  It’s notable for having the most openly melodic part on the entire album in the form of an exquisite synth solo about halfway through that’s achingly poignant and slowly apocalyptic.  The majority of this album is not nearly as forgiving; you can expect long stretches of slowwwwly changing repetition, with murky hints of melodic guitar and gasping, exasperated vocals, like Alexander Kachar just wants the end of modern civilization to get ON with it already.

As far as evoking the atmosphere of technogenic collapse, though, ‘F:\all’ is totally incredible.  You really can imagine what’s happening on the cover art coming to life: witnessing all modern technology suddenly fail and rust away, leaving a confused, fearful, and desperate populace behind.  This music is the sound of scrounging for food in the desert that western civilization has become, seeking shelter in half-collapses relics from a long-past age of computers and modern convenience.  If you’ve ever wanted the musical soundtrack to the computer game ‘Fallout’, this is it: slow, dry, and uncertain all the way through.

That being said, I don’t recommend this album the slightest bit to people who are looking for ‘normal’ funeral doom or don’t have very long attention spans.  This is an album that you have to be completely prepared and relaxed for to fully enjoy.  Even I can only stomach it once out of every four times I give it a spin.  But when it works, it’s one of the most evocative pieces of modern metal I’ve ever heard, conjuring an atmosphere rarely explored by music.  Recommended for those looking for a challenging and interesting album.

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~ by noktorn on May 22, 2008.

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