Released: 2008, Basick Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Fellsilent (one word) have been slowly garnering some decent buzz in their native UK as a result of their energetic live shows and their recent debut release THE HIDDEN WORDS. Culling influences reminiscent of newer Sepultura, The Dillinger Escape Plan, and Meshuggah, Fellsilent are quickly building a name for themselves with their atypical brand of sonic rhythms. Their sound is full of heavy, twangy guitars, clearly distinct bass lines, and erratic time signatures. Taking a nod from bands like Despised Icon and Linkin Park (kidding about that last one), Fellsilent features two full time vocalists in their lineup. But whereas other bands utilize the two throat approach to cover the aural highs and lows, both singers Neema and Joe are pretty vocally consistent and reminded me a lot of Corporate Death from Macabre.
Most of the songs employ a “controlled chaos” vibe, whereas there are so many shifts and turns in the music you’re sure that it’s going to fall apart at any minute but it never does. The arrangements are complex and the sync displayed between the six members of the band is admirable. Songs like “Erase/Begin” and “Double Negative” show some additional dynamics by employing clean vocal harmonies towards simpler, optimistic breaks in the songs. It doesn’t come across gimmicky, and it adds some necessary variety to THE HIDDEN WORDS.
Overall, THE HIDDEN WORDS is a good debut, but there are plenty of reasons why it’s not a great debut. The tunes are all good enough, but they definitely blend together after a few tracks. The hallmark of a great album is the pacing established through its track list; like a good book there’s a beginning, an end, and some rise and fall in between. On THE HIDDEN WORDS, most of the songs are interchangeable and as a result, they don’t leave any distinct lasting impression. And they’re just too long for their own purpose. Many songs are in the six minute range, but could have been scaled back without sacrificing anything. If a band is going to push a listener’s boundaries, it needs to be because the song requires it and not “just because.”
Fellsilent earn more pros than cons on THE HIDDEN WORDS and without question have delivered a worthy debut. THE HIDDEN SOUNDS offers a plenty of moments worth checking out, but unless you’re all over the “math metal” scene, you might not find yourself making it the whole way through.