Fall of Minerva
Much like their fellow countrymen Amia Venera Landscape, Fall of Minerva offer up a wonderful display of jarringly beautiful post-metalcore. Both bands offer up a sound that is one part sweeping post-rock/metal and one part post-Botch metalcore a la Underoath, Norma Jean, The Chariot, etc. There are also moments that recall Cult of Luna’s gift of powerful grace and Pianos Become The Teeth’s plaintive post-hardcore. It’s a bit gutsy to name a debut after self-reflection, but Portraits is a masterclass in brooding and brutal atmospheric post-metal.
What makes the album tick best is how the album flows, with short, choppy moments (“Demagogy”) sitting beside gorgeous symphonic pieces (“Sguardi nel Buio”). It all starts perfectly, with “Beyond the Pines” easing the listener into the band’s brand of potent post-potables. “Novocaine” initially appears to be a slow burner, until Fall of Minerva literally destroy their instruments on tape for a whole 30 seconds (RIP). That song, and really the whole album, showcase how deftly the band understand the importance of keeping things interesting. Songs will take their time or rapidly shapeshift, all at the group’s whim. It may seem initially haphazard, but repeat spins give the songs a sense of predictability in the chaos. Thankfully, the tracks are carried by enough walloping heft and impactful melody that they stand tall once the formula is, at least somewhat, figured out.
Fall of Minerva serve up a fantastic debut, one that will equally impress fans of Underoath and Cult of Luna, though one that has enough energy and charisma to stand on its own. That might be the most impressive aspect of Portraits. For a young band to swing for the fences and get so close to a home run in their first at bat. (Nicholas Senior)