FALSE MEMORIES – THE LAST NIGHT OF FALL
Label: Frontiers Music srl
Author: Ryan Callander
Italy’s FALSE MEMORIES return with their sophomore album “The Last Night Of Fall”, an eclectic, emotive doom-metal ritual for our troubled times.
Despite the familiar visual language of the promo clip for their single “Rain Of Souls“, FALSE MEMORIES don’t have all that much in common, sonically, with their goth-metal compatriots. They’re heavier than Blut or Secret Rule and are simply better musicians than Lacuna Coil.
Rather, their complex, considered songwriting and penchant for a thunderous low-end have seen the quintet take their place in their homeland’s nascent female-fronted doom scene, spearheaded by the likes of Messa and the brilliant Inno.
But this isn’t your papà‘s Italian doom. The schlocky occultism of, say, Death SS is nowhere to be found in this boundary-pushing, relentlessly creative soundscape. Where heritage bands relied on shocking lyrics and Halloweeny album sleeves to evoke a sense of the ethereal, or the diabolical, FALSE MEMORIES achieve this through stellar songwriting and powerhouse performances across this record’s eleven tracks.Their artistry is audible from the word go on “The Last Night Of Fall“. Frontwoman and songwriter Rossella Moscatello beckons us into the opening track, “Black Shades“, as a melodic refrain from fellow composer and axeman Francesco Savino accompanies her haunting overture. Then that chugging bass and drum partnership shoulders its way in, forming the backdrop for vocal melodies full of more piercing, ripping, tearing hooks than the climactic scene in Hellraiser.
‘Menace and melody’ was a term bandied about by lazy music journalists about a decade ago. But FALSE MEMORIES have actually mastered these contrasting textures, using them to convey a broad palette of emotions from genuine anguish to an empty hope of elation.
For instance, the statement-of-intent, sample-riddled stomp of “Erased“ gives way to sparse bridges, which offer the vocals and the finest guitar solo on the record space to shine.
But later, “Unfaithful Dream“ starts with a vocal harmony before erupting into a bombastic riff, setting the stage for a swelling tsunami of a chorus, a bone-crushing breakdown-cum-bridge, and what can only be described as a waltz fizzing around the second verse.
This command of juxtaposed sounds finds its most emotive expression in the timely anthem “Hysteria“. An ominous keyboard intro intertwines with a skilful bass lick from Gianluca Zaffino, beckoning the most crushing, pain-ridden riff on the disc. This, in turn, welcomes a truly blood-curdling, creeping riff beset by haunting vocals, which lead an otherworldly, agonised chorus.
“Your mind is now in the hands of liars“, sings Rossella, as the music chips away at what’s left of sanity. Then, a distant, threatening voice wrings every drop of malice from the diktats we’ve become all-too used to over the last year-or-so:
“Wear a mask, wash your hands, wear gloves. Don’t talk, don’t talk to anybody. Do not breathe in the presence of anybody. Be calm, stay safe, and remember that if you’re getting ill nobody will be able to help you. You will die. Your family and friends will die. Your children will die.“
The weight of oppression and the palpable unease on this track is phenomenal. No other piece of art has come this close to epitomising the despair, the claustrophobia, and the crushing hopelessness of the lockdown. And for that reason, if no other, this record is worth your time.
“The Last Night Of Fall” is a triumphant opus from an incredibly talented quintet. FALSE MEMORIES’ ability to bring together disparate musical textures to create awesomely emotive soundscapes has them marked as one of the most promising acts to emerge from this new wave of Italian doom metal, and as a creative force to be reckoned with.