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Album Reviews : Fear The Setting Sun – Of Slumber Woods Once Spoke

By on February 7, 2013

LARGE-COVER2012-300Fear the Setting Sun describe themselves as genre-less and the first track of their debut full length, Of Slumber Woods Once Spoke, the 9 minutes plus “AnEverglow” certainly goes a long way to proving this point, as the track meanders from a quiet ambient intro, leading in to a heavy slow building section of the song, which then takes a turn with what could best be described as metalcore section featuring a very ‘At the Gates’ styled riff, from there a slow and heavy death metal riff kicks in and the vocals bark in to action for the first time at this point also. This all happens in just over the opening 3 minutes of the song! From this point, styles continue to be interchanged as an ambient, post rock instrumental section provides segue to some gang vocal chanting, another metalcore section, and some tremolo picking which then leads to a heavy section for which you’d expect to round out the song around the 7 minute mark. Does it stop there though? Oh no! The band then continues on with the journey with a much more ‘poppier’ rock riff, lead instrumental section with some nice leads to accompany it, before returning to another heavy vocal lead section and finishing off the track to the sound of a flurry of double kicks. All in all, the end result is good and you certainly have to admire the ambition of these guys, but wrapping your head around it all could be considered as difficult as it is to read this very paragraph!

“Rain Upon Thee” picks up the pace a little, exhibiting a much more uniform melodic death metal style ala Amon Amarth/Hypocrisy until around the half way point of the track, when it vastly shifts both in terms of speed and direction. Rollicking drums and aggressive guitar work give way to a much slower paced, ambient post rock piece which closes out the track. Dissident chord progressions signal the intro to “I Am the Dark”, as it slowly builds its way to a light, melodically sung middle section, that itself then again builds in to a heavy finish.

The band is certainly focused on making long songs with plenty of variety, the track length of the album of only five songs, none of which are under the eight minute mark and more than half of which are over ten minute mark are a clear indication of this. Creating songs of these lengths and keeping them interesting is no mean feat. Sure, some sections of the album, especially on the opening track “AnEverglow” such as the ambient intro and the closing 3 minutes of the song could have possibly been their own separate tracks, with maybe some clever transitions between them to keep the flow of the album going, but overall the band has done exactly what they have set out to achieve and can regard their works as largely a success.

Rounding out the release “Follow Me” and “The Heathen Man” are both excellent tracks that both exhibit a shade of certain other Australian peers We Lost the Sea and to even a extent recent Beyond Terror Beyond Grace in turns of their long ambient slow building sections that climax in to aggressive filled passages that are sure to have you banging your head.

A little research uncovered that Of Slumber Woods Once Spoke is also what seems like an entirely self produced and recorded album. The end result is a slightly rough around the edges sound, but this does serve to give the album a sort of underground DIY charm and does so without overly hampering the feel of the record. The only real noteworthy issue on the sound front is that the vocals are quite down in the mix and are hard to distinguish at times. The album is quite instrumental dominant, so it would have been nice to have heard the vocals louder in the mix on the occasion they do enter the fold, but this can be viewed as a minor issue at best.

In terms of living up to their self proclaimed genre-less tag, the three piece from Brisbane, certainly live and die by the sword. On one hand it makes for quite a diverse and interesting listen, as the band never settles on one style for long, on the other the frequent rate of interchanging styles, some of which work better together than others, I can imagine will be a little off putting for some listeners. The band sure does a great job with every style they tackle though when the parts are viewed individually; some minor work on some of the arrangements might be the key to rectifying this issue however. Either way, Of Slumber Woods Once Spoke is a clever and thought provoking piece.

Band: Fear the Setting Sun
Album: Of Slumber Woods Once Spoke
Year: 2012
Genre:  Metal/Experimental/Doom/Ambient
Label: Independant
Origin: Brisbane, Australia

Track list:
AnEverglow (9:09)
Rain Upon Thee (8:30)
I Am The Dark (10:06)
Follow Me (11:00)
The Heathen Man (10:31)


In his spare time, between being a slave to the grind, contributing to and hitting up as many local/international gigs as possible. Gareth also contributes to Dutch based metal-zine, books the odd show under the Inherit Earth moniker and plays drums for Sydney-based bands Whisky Smile and Swamp Harlot.