FALLS OF RAUROS “Keys To A Vanishing Future”

By: Lord Randall

Portland, Maine’s FALLS OF RAUROS, since its inception, has been searching. Not to say that the band is confused, haphazard or simply looking for its “sound”, whatever that means. More to the point, the band knows who and what they are after well over a decade of albums, keeping one eye on that path, but another wandering, almost scanning the sides of the way for bits of itself hidden under rocks, in leaf-veins – in places it wouldn’t expect commonality or kinship.

FOR’s sixth opens with ‘Clarity’, a pristine, simple pattern quickly underpinned by staccato guitars and drums. While I’d have let that mood of introduction carry a bit longer, the quartet falls into the song, crafting a near-ideal opener. There’s a good bit of prog in the arrangement, true peaks and valleys that seem natural rather than forced. ‘Desert Of Heart’ finds FOR going all-in for the prog hinted at before, yet never losing sight of the song. Many are the moving parts within this band, a kaleidoscopic sonic landscape, as the somber, folk-tinged bridge ascends/descends into fire at the end.

Loping at first, a fox in the forest, ‘Known World Narrows’ is fluid, almost tactile in both beauty and fury, the mantra “Persist while the known world narrows / Find courage, hold fast while the known world narrows.” a spear. My pick of the album, by far, this, while ‘Poverty Hymn’ turns the tumblers in the lock of this album, perfectly placed. Furious in a musical sense, fiery, as stratospheric strings exalt in flame, subdued at times, only to serve the song. Lyrically, we’re bidden a cautionary farewell with “Never forget what you have.” Well said, sirs. Well played.

Is “Keys To A Vanishing Future” simply a great album, or is it a great FALLS OF RAUROS album? There is a difference. Time will tell for these ears, but thus far, I’m liking its chances.