On the album's fittingly medieval (and uncoated, to achieve the retro feel) cover we see death himself riding unrestricted on his pale horse, and the album itself serves as a soundtrack for his arrival. This, the debut album by the duo Innfallen, is set to explore, decipher and bring forth the theme of the catholic christian prophecy of the three days of darkness, during which all the demons of Hell would be unleashed to roam the Earth so that it may be purged from all the disbelievers and blasphemers.
The album presents drone-like harshness and slowly waving flow of lenghtened notes, fused together with the blackened atmospheres and clearer structures of dark ambient. The songs have a well layered structure, which still has a good amount of room for the sounds to be able to move around, explore their space and fuse together with their companions. The songs are based on a backbone of bassy but still harsh drone, which carries a good amount of weight and strenght without sounding overpowering. Around it there's some harsh, ambient-like sounds without a certain aim or structure to create the backdrop for the soundscapes. The two aforementioned make the rough draft for the tracks' flow and determine it's high and low points when it comes to volume and impact.
The more defining sounds are mostly hoarse as well, with some clearer bassiness providing contrast in the background. They consist of manipulated short notes, hissing, creaking, and what-not, all with the aim of creating a dark soundscape without resorting to maiming the listener with mere bassiness; the band went for true darkness. The ten-minuter "Day Two" serves as a good example on how the band employed all the different notes and sounds making the track sound dark without having to resort to clichés - aside of some of the reversed and harshened rattles, but despite their simplisticity they sounded fitting to the inferno-theme.
The album can be split into two; up to the end of the fourt track the album describes the uprise of the demons and the suffering people, and the remaining four tracks are of a more or less lighter vein, describing the time after the demons have gone. The main diffences can be summarized into the latter half lacking the lowest, darkest notes, and employing some close to screeching high notes instead to create a more liberated, but also desolated, feel.
The album takes a too long time to describe its themes. Even though the soundscapes have been crafter with care, they don't deliver the final notions and atmospheres that would make me want to listen to the album over and over again; they tell the story of the three days from a too neutral view, from the distance, instead of actually venturing to the center of it all to really feel how the situation affects everyone. It's a good and detailed story, but lacks the personal, human touch that would actually say that the composers cared about it's events or were affected themselves. I exaggerate a bit, but the main point would remain the same otherwise too.
The album was crafted with care, but to me it seems that it focuses more on the description than on the emotion - and I had pretty high expectations for the album, which might explain why I was so disappointed in the end. The album has quite a few original musical ideas and an overall good flow and structures, so I'll be waiting to hear the group's second full-lenght, hoping it will be less safe and more emotional. The group's second album should come out in 2011.