All Life Dies is the new/old project from Oceans of Slumber guitarist Jessie Santos. Up until last year, the project was known simply as Fall. They likely changed their name to avoid having to compete with Mark E. Smith’s legacy when people try to give them a Google. Not a bad idea. All Life Dies is a much better name for the project anyway. They have an intensely dramatic approach to black metal that is also highly melodic but eschews the campy histrionics of groups like Cradle of Filth. All Life Dies sound deadly serious on their debut EP Ghost Dust, and the theatricality of their performances is appropriate to the weight with which they approach the material.
“This Grave Is My Home” begins with a patient and solemn groove, sounding like a funeral procession taking place in the midst of a torrential rainstorm, where the clouds are riveted with shocks of lightning- conditions that only becomes more intense and pain-racked as they persist and give way to an Emporer-esque bolt of blast beats and tremolos. This squall eventually parts though, as if by a literal eye to this storm, which makes room for a melodic reconstitution, allowing the listener to reorient themselves. This is a trick though and only serves to make the second wave of black metal bluster that follows all the harsher when it hits.
The next track, “A Red Night” is a pure ballad that reminds me of the low-key ardor of deeply emotive Scandinavian rock acts like Poets of the Fall, while the closing and title track seemingly throws out the template of the previous two tracks entirely in favor of momentous blacked death groove, which priorities the punishing thump of it throbbing guitar melodies over any things else. I say seemingly, because the second half of the track opens up, similar to “This Grave Is My Home,” like the parting of the waters of a flooded cemetery, to allow space for a melodic and orchestral interlude- an oasis that is eventually consumed by the cold hail of a black metal torrent in the outro.
You can buy and stream this awesome first EP from All Life Dies via Bandcamp below:
Get Ghost Dust on CD and Cassette here.