The Dublin, Ireland-based project Fós craft songs likely unlike much of anything that’s been heard before — seriously. The project, which features multi-instrumentalist Fionn Murray and singer Orla Cadden Patel, twists traditional Irish folk singing of the sean-nós variety into creeping atmospheric doom metal soundscapes, which together feel like the sonic encapsulation of standing upon a windy seaside cliff. The heavy ambiance from the guitars and other elements in the structurally free-flowing songs delivers a subtly chilling sense of subdued grandeur, and the simultaneously soulfully sincere and richly ambitious singing firmly situates the experience in some underappreciated spiritual locale. Without an overabundance of elements, Fós have crafted an emotionally sky-scraping journey which feels like it sets the listener down to ponder the lurking grandiosity that they may have taken for granted. Diving in, it’s just you and the ancestral spirits, perhaps.
On the project’s currently available debut album Rinne mé iarraidh, the sound of the music itself gradually thickens throughout the piece. Slow and steady guitar emerges first, followed by a slight percussion rhythm. Throughout the entirety of these early moments, the project presents a droning atmosphere nowhere near major beats or riffing. Rather, the music feels like the chill of an oceanside breeze upon bare skin.
On track two — there are four overall — softly rustling tones float along, with occasional thick electric guitar strums ringing out. Progressing through the album feels like stumbling along through a hazy fog as the music thickens. The droning guitar strums gradually increase in frequency, and antsy bursts of understated percussion rhythm also pop up while the emotionally rich singing continues on.
Track three features slight, pulsing synths accompanied by pulses of endlessly reverberating but soft and restrained guitar strums. There’s a dark beauty in the persistence, even in the near-complete absence of the most perhaps familiar melodic structures. A slight, skipping beat emerges eventually, but there’s no major overall change beyond a sense of movement in the cloudy doom. Track four feels the thickest, but neither the free-flowing structure nor the singing let up. Somberness and all, the music packs a freeing feeling.
The singing, which is in Irish, feels like it’s expressing subdued longing, like there’s a geyser of passion that could burst forth but has been funneled for the time being into this orderly but dynamically swinging presentation.The persistence, even in the absence of a codified structure, ensures a kind of somber, solemn feel.
The tunes have been finely tuned to deliver an all-encompassing experience. Really, Rinne mé iarraidh very quickly proves an inescapably unique journey. The songs feel gripping and leave ample mark on the soul, like a trip to these emotionally rich far reaches has actually taken place.
Check out the music below!