Fall Of Stasis – The Chronophagist
Release Date: 25/02/22
Running Time: 49:31
Review by Dark Juan
Good afternoon. I have exiled myself to the lounge of Dark Juan Terrace as Mrs Dark Juan has taken over the kitchen for the baking of many brownies for our petite enfant terrible. I don’t mean The Dread Lord Igor Egbert Brian Clown-Shoe Cleavage-Hoover, either, much as he might want to be hand fed brownies as he reclines upon his chaise longue, which is covered in the skins of his previous victims. I am mildly aggrieved because I have been made to engage in physical labour (on a Sunday! For shame!) whisking eggs, because the drive shaft to the food processor has magically vanished as soon as it was required. And the company that makes the damned machine would charge a mere £2.99 for a replacement, but don’t have any in stock because they are a colossal bunch of German wankers. Anyway, my plan for today was not to write the bollocks you are now reading, but to in fact bottle 80 pints of beer I have had brewing in the cellar. However, Mrs Dark Juan has taken over the kitchen so it won’t be happening till at least tomorrow as I have to go and babysit later and I’m fucked if I am washing and sterilising 80 beer bottles this evening.
In other news, I went to visit my daughter last week and discovered that she earns significantly more than me at half my age. Make of that what you will, but it appears that wrangling young gentlemen is not the industry I need to be in. Neither is writing entertaining opinion pieces, because I do this free, gratis and for nothing apart from now having one of the most kick ass underground Metal record collections in the world nowadays…
…Which leads us neatly into the reason you’re ploughing through the usual stream of consciousness drivel that prefaces what you have actually come to read about. Today it is Canadian (Montreal-based) Metal pioneers Fall Of Stasis, debut is fizzing angrily away through my headphones. This six-piece list Finntroll, Fleshgod Apocalypse, The Black Dahlia Murder, Unexpect and Ne Obliviscaris as bands whose fans might enjoy their music. I’d agree in the main, especially Fintroll, but there is a major and powerful influence on the music they haven’t mentioned, whose fans would absolutely fucking adore Fall Of Stasis, and that is Cradle Of Filth. Lead vocalist Jessica Dupré’s waspish, wide-eyed scream is very reminiscent of the demented howling of one D. Filth, Esq. and the music reminds this mad bastard of the Vaudeville qualities of Suffolk’s finest Gothic mentalists as well, with the loud / quiet / loud dynamic, Gothic overkill, lush orchestration, classic Metal components and outlandish speed of The Filth all faithfully displayed.
Where Fall Of Stasis differs from Cradle Of Filth, though, is in the vocals. Although Dupré faithfully can reproduce the range of shrieking of the Tiny Suffolk Terror, the deeper ranges and clean singing are left to guitarist Gabriel Bernier and this is to the benefit of the music, as his rich, deep roar and actual genuine ability at emoting when singing cleanly, complements the howling histrionics of Dupré rather nicely. In fact, the band’s sound is rather more interesting than just a Cradle Of Filth analogue. While there is a major Filth influence, there’s nice little touches of Anathema (mainly from the emotional sound of the clean vocals, and when the band take the foot off the accelerator) and The Blood Divine, as well as the inventiveness of arrangement of The Black Dahlia Murder.
‘Baron’ is the most Cradle-like track on here, being a full-velocity blast through Black and Death Metal with lush, velvet draped gothic keyboards swirling underneath the music and the vocals closely following the Filth blueprint. ‘Swarm Of Casualties’ introduces a Hardcore chant into the Gothic madness and ‘The Last Waltz’ introduces a carnival-like element during the middle part of the song. This is also where Fall Of Stasis differ from Cradle Of Filth. They write about modern social issues and personal experience, where Dani Filth and Darren White et al would be much more likely to write about the light of the moon, or a fictional vampire, or something equally ethereal. I like both, to be fair.
Although the music is similar to Cradle Of Filth in a big, big way (especially their stuff around ‘Thornography’ and ‘Damnation And A Day’) I find the lyrical component and the arrangements different enough to allow Fall Of Stasis to stand apart and to be judged on merits that have nothing to do with Suffolk’s manglers of Gothic Metal. Now then, I mentioned the “G” word. Regular perusers of the verbose nonsense I write know that Dark Juan is a hide-boundcard carrying Sad Old Goff who was wearing black nail polish before emo’s were even fucking BORN and therefore is generally all over any gothic release on Ever-Metal.com’s release lists like a predatory vampire is after a consumptive, alabaster skinned young girl who shrieks a lot instead of getting the fuck out of Dodge. Quite a lot of the time this is disappointing, because quite a lot of Gothic Metal bands simply don’t have the chops to manage it. Schysma were a notable exception (mainly because they are all bat shit insane), and so are Fall Of Stasis. FOS return speedy Gothic Metal back to being interesting after some time in the doldrums (mainly because only Cradle Of Filth do it well enough to be of interest) and I for one am fucking happy about this. My favourite era of Metal is the early to mid-90’s where Death, Black and Alternative Metal all exploded at once, and Fall Of Stasis exhibit just the kind of sound that floats my black-painted, rusty boat.
However, the production job on the album is also early Cradle of Filth. Remember the sound of “Cruelty And The Beast”? That wispy, cluttered, yet powerless production that seemed to forget that bottom end even existed? Yeah, that. This album would have very much benefitted from a heavier, more bassy sound, as well as a tiny bit more treble. The mid-range is where everything is at and it all becomes a bit muddy at times, normally when the band is at full chat and clarity is lost in favour of clattering. This is only a minor point of order though, because this is a debut album, and it is an astonishingly self-assured one, chock full of gothic splendour, blurred speed and music that will take your eyes out at a hundred metres. The arrangements of the songs are interesting, varied and inventive, the lyrics thought provoking and intelligent and the musicians all absolute masters and mistresses of their craft and once more Dark Juan has been transported to the heavens on frothy purple waves of enthusiasm for yet another new favourite band. It’s still only February and already I have a candidate for the top ten releases of 2022. I love this album that much, and so should you fuckers!!!
The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (Le système breveté d’évaluation des éclaboussures de sang Dark Juan pour mes amis canadiens-français) awards the first 10/10 of 2022 to these Canadian madmen and women for an album that is contemporary yet brings back memories of when Metal was at the height of its powers, and yet slays with as much ease as a tactical nuclear weapon. Also, I fucking love the idea of a time-eater as a concept (a chronophagist, if you will).
I wanted to say a personal thank you to the band for the extremely professional EPK they sent, complete with listening notes for each song, which really enhanced the aural experience of their album. So here it is. Merci, mes amis!
01. Wilted Forests
02. Fall of Stasis
03. Drunken Howl
04. Baal Arise
05. The Cult
06. Twilight Carnival
08. The Last Waltz
09. Swarm Of Casualties
10. The Chronophagist (Featuring Viky Boyer)
Jessica Dupré – Lead Vocals
Gabriel Bernier – Lead Guitar / Backing Vocals
Tristan Bergeron-Boucher – Rhythm Guitar
Mathieu Groulx – Bass
Sergei Lecours – Drums
Mélissa Bissonnette – Keyboards
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