Thinking back, he was like the Nordic equivalent of The Most Interesting Man…at least that’s how he resides in my mind. A mythical, long-haired, bearded man, a savage warrior who possibly drives a Cadillac, guzzles champagne (from a chalice) and belongs to a local men’s club. Clearly, I’ve created this in my mind. The reality is, I ran into him at the Tripe Rock one night and he had a girl on each arm. Nothing all that crazy, but the myth only grew from that moment. Regardless, it was our initial meeting where the story begins. My cousin and I were at Station 4, the line-up of the night slips my mind, but we somehow struck up a conversation with this particular gentleman. I only remember 2 things he said: he was from Duluth, and that I should listen to False.
Like anything truly good these days, I had to do a little digging to find me some False…I like them already. Eventually, I landed on the Gilead Media website and ordered myself their 2011 Untitled EP on vinyl. It’s crazy to think that the concept of a vinyl-only releases was so foreign to me at the time, but I had a record player that needed some new blood so I took the plunge. When it showed up, I immediately threw it on the turn table and dropped the needle. I had no idea what hit me. The only question it left me was to whether I got some ice packs before I listened to it again. Untitled, rather False, was a bridge connecting the utter angst of crust-punk and the sinister, chaotic ferocity of black metal.
Flash forward 4 years. The again-titled Untitled full-length release sees False continue where they left off. The 5 song tracklist comes in at just a hair under 60 minutes. The basic math of that feels good. The album starts with a quick hum of bass, a burst of feedback and then instantaneously plunges into the depths of False’s sinister, chaotic nightmare. I say nightmare because this album could truly be the soundtrack to the most preeminent horror film ever made (speaking as though it hasn’t been made yet). Just over 3 minutes into the opening track, “Saturnalia,” the atmosphere declines to a brooding interlude of doom essence, as though giving you time to catch your breath, just as you realize you’ve been completely engulfed by this haunting narrative. And there’s still 4 chapters to go.
By definition, False are a black metal band, and the characteristics of this genre that they display are meticulously unnerving (as they should be). Blast beats, scorching vocals, tremlo picking, not sounding over produced…all present. These 5 tracks (chapters) though, are an anthology of unpredictable entropy fused with distressing yet melodic harmony. I find myself drawn…more than I am to your typical black metal. It posses that wall-of-distorted-noise quality, while being fed underneath by melodies that are even more sinister sounding than the blood-curdling vocals. Near the end of “Deluge,” the scattered double-bass and growling vocals stop and the song slowly leads into a choir-like vocal arrangement that left me feeling like some type of resolution was coming…maybe the end of the first act…but instead the song fluidly moves back and forth between the slow melodic and the sinister build before hurling into self back into the chaos. The outro of “Entropy” transforms itself into church-style organ-like keyboards as it leads slowly into the final track. I can’t say enough about the overall sound and production either. This album, at times, literally sounds like a faster-paced occult record from the 70s, or like I stated previously, the soundtrack to a horror film of the same time period, but clearly better, somehow better produced, while sounding less produced at the same time.
At some point, I need to pay it forward. I need to tell a stranger that they should listen to False. Maybe I just did. I don’t always listen to black metal, but when I do, I listen to False.