You have to wonder why is Funeral Doom such appealing to Black Metal musicians. Maybe they find in this particular style something that their sodomizing-goats-in-the-name-of-Satan generic thematics can't express; or maybe it's because a lot of them still believe Nortt to be a Black metal band just because its sole musician is wearing corpsepaint (I wonder what they'll say about KISS, then). Whatever is the reason, you cannot hide the fact that a lot of the Funeral doom releases of the past 6/7 years have been produced by musicians that were more known for their involvement in the Black metal spectrum. Not saying that those releases were bad in any way, just that it's curious to see people so keen in expressing how much they hate the whole Creation and beyond suddendly going all sad and depressed and funerary inclined. You'll have already guessed by now, Tempestuous Fall is a solo project (who said 'bedroom'?) by australian artist Dis Pater, more known for its Black metal bands This Crevices Below (awesome name for a band, if you ask me) and Midnight Odyssey.
The title should point you to the thematics, in case you haven't already guessed by the artwork (a bunch of reproduction of fine paintings from the Romantic period) : O John Milton, what have been done in thy name? Well, a lot of Doom albums, to start with. Yes, this is once again an album inspired by the epic poem Paradise Lost (now why there's never a band to do an album inspired by Paradise Regained, which is a s good, if not better, than Paradise Lost? Surely, christian themes can't scare a Doom fan). Musically, this is some very melodic Funeral Doom, with some Gothic Doom inspirations once in a while (My Dying Bride, especially).
The music is very cohesive, which is a strong point. Every instrument is well-played (something rare in one-man bands, where one instrument tends to generally be weaker than the rest) and the drum machine is not only well programmed (even more rare), it's also sufficiently well produced that you can mistake it for a real drummer playing (as rare as a dinosaur playing a flute). Maybe the keyboards are sometimes a bit too much intrusive, but that didn't bothered me at all. The songs are long, all between 10 to 15 minutes, enabling a lot of change in term of melodies and vocal range : you get your classic growls, shrieks and some magnificent clean vocals (taht should really be used more in future releases). The use of a violin helps in setting a gothic atmosphere and is a fine complement to a music that does its job in alternating crushing then more atmospheric moments.
So why didn't I was as thrilled by listening to this album as one could think by reading my previous statement? To put things short, as well executed that is 'The Stars Will Not Awake You', it's also damn well average in term of composition. There's nothing new on the album that we haven't heard before elsewhere, sometimes even better done. It's lighter in tone than Skepticism, it misses the Elder Ones atmosphere of Thergothon, it's not as drowning as Tyranny, not as cold as Shape Of Despair (maybe the band that has the most influenced Tempestuous Fall), it's not as crushing as Evoken or Mournful Congregation. I'm not saying that every new band should always try to bring something new to the table, but so far Dis Pater had managed to hook me with the strong personality that can be heard in its other projects. Said personality is, sadly, nearly non-existent here. From time to time, there's some Midnight Odyssey influences creeping in but it never goes as far as I could have expected it.
Put it this way, Tempestuous fall has released a good first album that is still too much under influence. This is an album that will please every Funeral Doom fan, and should even catch the ears of those more inclined to Gothic Doom. I know that Dis Pater can do a lot better, as it has proven already with his other projects. And if he manages to bring into Tempestuous Fall a personality that'll be just half as strong as the one that he brings into This Crevices Below...Then Australia will have found a new and serious contender for the Funeral Doom throne.
words by Laurent Lignon