Minerva is known for being “the Roman goddess of wisdom and sponsor of arts, trade, and strategy,” but Fall of Minerva, on the other hand, is a completely different story. The Italian post-hardcore group released Portraits via Basick Records on March 24th. With the support of such a significant label at Basick, you can be sure that these guys will play some interesting, unconventional music.
The record begins with ambient guitar, a punchy bass and some harsh sung vocals. The whole production immediately seems to be organic and full of passion, and far from overproduced. “Beyond The Pines” is a slow starting track that is based on chords and a simple structure, similar to UK post metal outfit Devil Sold His Soul, also under Basick’s wings. However, the band quickly introduces chaotic mathcore elements while incorporating beautiful harmonies and emotive soundscapes. “Novocaine” features the first proper emotional peak of Portraits, which is based on tremolo picked guitars and the emotional voice of their singer Sido. This song also features a lot of dissonance similar to old material by Architects,while being more mathcore influenced and fast-paced.
“Träume,” German for “dreams,” is probably one of most chaotic songs on Portraits, having a potent mix of mathcore, hardcore and doom that is somehow a little reminiscent of Oathbreaker. Even if the title is German, this song is not. It is based in the band’s mother tongue, which is Italian. The chaotic nature of the song creates an interesting contrast to the following, slower track.
Songs like “Novocaine” and “Demagogy” seems to be as mathcore influenced as “Träume,” with a hardcore vibe and guitar work that evokes comparison to Norma Jean, The Chariot or Hollow Crown-era Architects. Despite these comparisons, Fall Of Minerva is a band capable of diversity, balancing chaos with calm, and beauty with brutality. Almost every song is supported by melancholy synthesizers that brings in a Devil Sold His Soul-ish mood and ends up in a big bright and overwhelming sound.
Speaking of those synthesizers, which are mostly used to insert strings effects, there is also something else than the normal songs on Potraits. It is the track “Sguardi Nel Buio,” a song that starts with a clean guitar and some cello creates an interesting ambiance, while it builds up for more than two minutes with the same basic concept, until more strings come in as the guitar stops to play. A dark vibe rises and a melancholic melody appears which is surrounded by strange synthetic noises, until a triolic part starts to play on the strings. Also, the guitars come in and the tension rises, but instead of breaking out, the track stays drumless, with an ambient guitar playing and lovely played violin and some dark guitar chords. This track is exciting to listen to, as it feels like a soundtrack of a movie that finally needs to break out, but it does not end on a satisfying way. It sounds open ended, and is followed by the next song, which again is a “normal” one, and creates a big contrast.
This high emotional piece of music ends with “Ask The River”, a song that ends with emotional screams and some rhythmic snare playing. This end seems to be a little opened and not as triumphant as one could expect it. It feels a little bit too sudden, which is not a bad thing at all. Potraits is a dark, depressing, but also an atmospheric and ambient record, which sparkles out of emotion and passion. All things considered one that is a fan of emotional, passionate and progressive post hardcore will definitely love the sound as well as the interesting composition of Fall Of Minerva. A band that for sure will become a bigger name in future!
Notable Tracks: “Beyond The Pines”, “Träume”, “Demagogy.”
FFO: Devil Sold His Soul, The Chariot, Norma Jean, old-Architects.
Follow Fall Of Minerva on Facebook.