Chuck Schuldiner Project

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Felled - The Intimate Earth


I've always had a soft spot for blackened folk metal. It's especially interesting to hear some coming out on Transcending Obscurity, a label not exactly known for its involvement in the genre. This is really a niche music so it's interesting to hear it from a label like that one. Regardless, Felled have an interesting take on the genre, and though not all of their experiments succeed, The Intimate Earth does a good job in introducing the world to an excellent band. Of particular note is that half of this band was in the cult favorites Moss Of Moonlight. It helps to explain some of the top tier execution here. 

I'll come out and say it - the big issue that this record has is that the vocals just are not a fit. While I see what the group was going for here, and it certainly does work in some moments, as a general rule the growls are too low pitched. The approach just feels incongruous to what a lot of the rest of the record is doing. In fact, I find this fairly frustrating because there are so many other excellent elements to this record ranging from the stellar use of violin to add melody and the fierce black metal riffs. The mystique they craft though is hurt by the vocals that are not a great fit for the genre and frankly too high in the mix. 

All this being said - there are not a lot of American blackened folk bands and to hear a group doing it well is a head turner. Felled have found a distinct approach to the genre and it's exciting to listen as they slowly find their sound. That being said - I do get the feeling it's going to take another album or two to get the vocals to where they need to be. There are a lot of interesting ideas throughout, and a clear understanding of the record that makes for compelling listening. Hearing this band evolve will be a delight. 

Pre-order the album!

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