It’s been two years since we reviewed How to See Beyond Fields, a solid post-rock/post-metal release from Lille, France’s Fall of Messiah. That album contained long songs and huge riffs; the new EP contains shorter songs, but the riffs remain intact. By distilling their essence, the band has underlined its power.
In lieu of long builds, the band substitutes a cinematic opener, the 92-second “Monochromatic Synesthesia.” The track is a tease: of course we’re going to get guitars, we just have to wait a little bit. The title implies that the band is playing with impressions, yet the album title suggests the opposite. Although grey, blue, black, yellow/copper, rust and green will each get their turn, the overall impression is a swirl. This is the first release whose title is not a How to …, happy to flip the script.
The biggest indication of a new direction is the fact that four of the songs are single-length, and two others are close. The first full track, “The Grey Heart Blues,” is a perfect microcosm of the band’s sound, and would make a super single. It takes less than a second to burst, contains interludes that are anything but quiet, and ends in crashing drums and screaming guitars. If these are the blues, they are the loudest blues we’ve ever heard. Then “Blue Ruin” bursts from the gate with rapid drumfire before entering a “pensive” state; we put that in quotes because in this case, the word is relative. The melodic chords and slower percussion are still fast enough to dance to, although not loud enough to mosh to. That part will come later, on other tracks. It’s safe to say that the EP is meant to be played as a whole, as the loudest parts are spread around. The most titanic crashes arrive at the direct center, near the end of the almost-epic “I Always Thought That One Day Everything Would Be Settled But Everything Just Went Black,” the only thing holding it back from that designation being its length.
If choosing a B-side to “The Grey Heart Blues,” our suggestion would be “Rust,” which starts like a machine gun loaded with crack, turns progressive in the center, then topples briefly into screamo (which also happened on the last album); then back to the pounding, this time mixed with prog. The song is unpredictable on first listen. Could it be a radio hit? Perhaps, if the right station were to get involved. These colors are certainly not empty; different eyes will see different shades, but there’s nothing drab about this release. (Richard Allen)