Called Portent and out July 12 via Gilead Media, the new record from Minneapolis black metal band False is utterly insane — in a good way. The album delivers devastating menace that never lets up for a second. The songs build up to a 16 minute long epic packed into the track “The Serpent Sting, the Smell of Goat,” but there is never a dull moment and this music passes by in a whirlwind of inescapable and chilling energy.
The record ultimately sits outside of our familiar, everyday experiences, feeling instead like staring a personification of menacing fear right in the face. It seems intentionally unclear in a large portion of the band’s work whether you as a central figure or the fear have the upper hand, and it seems in question at times whether it really even matters because the epic flourishes streaking across Portent define the band’s apparent observation that even when brutalized and ground into the maybe not even metaphorical muck — there’s power to be had. Getting to more directly melodic portions towards the very end of the new False album feels like light cracking into some hidden chamber in which you had been sitting without hope, chained and bloody. Going through this process is a wild thrill, to say the least.
The band kick off their exploration of this concept by diving right into chainsaw-feeling metal, grinding right into a hurricane of fury that if anything, only gets more intense as the music goes on for those first couple tracks. (There are only three main ones.) Their music feels so physical that a soberingly heavy and volatile but engaging emotional fog setting in feels inescapable. Super impressively, the band never completely devolve into incomprehensible madness although they’re intentionally dealing with that exact element — instead, in the blast beat driven moments and beyond, you can really hang on to the music itself that the band members are performing. Unique and complex melodic riffs come crashing in at just the right moment over and over, breaking through the onslaught and pushing the whole creation forward. This sense gets more obvious and blatant during the comparatively brief times in which the band segue into (only comparatively) lighter fare, like the few minutes scattered across the second track.
Lyrically, the band’s vocalist deals in fare that’s both in line with some of False’s previous work and a bit of a step a new direction. Although Rachel N. often presents her vocal work to add to the experiential feel above just flatly reciting something, she tells tales of feeling personally trapped in a supernatural storm.
The lyrics that accompany some of the epic, flourishing concluding portion of Portent are worth reading. She shares through her menacing roars and screams:
“We were told that the walls of the temple were a vessel born from god to lift us from underneath the crushing wheel of life, death and rebirth. No god shapes us… Passive receipt of change is betrayal of self.”
Listen below, and pre-order here.