So if you remember my interview with Derek Orthner from a few months back, then you already know that we’re pretty big Begrime Exemious fans here at the Vault. So when I saw that Derek and BE’s second guitarist Franky Thibaudeau also have a sludgy hardcore band called Falsehood, and that said band would be releasing their self-titled debut on Halloween, I had but one response: yes, please.
Actually, that description might be somewhat misleading. Franky’s been handling guitar and vocal duties in Falsehood since 2010, which is a couple of years before he joined Begrime, and Derek only came on board in 2015. But still, anyone who’s a fan of their guitar work in BE will find plenty to like about Falsehood as well, even though it’s a very different kind of band.
A large part of what I appreciate about Falsehood is that for an album rooted in a couple of fairly straightforward genres, there’s a remarkable amount of variety from one song to the next. The first half of opening track “Wheel of War” had me expecting this to be a crust record, but (thankfully) that expectation didn’t last for long, as it takes a death metal-sounding turn in its second half. “Impending Nightmare” comes blazing out like powerviolence and doesn’t let up…until the guitar solo near the end of the song. That kind of thing definitely doesn’t happen in most (if any) powerviolence.
The first real curveball, though, doesn’t come until the third track, “Waste.” A lone clean guitar playing slow, droning open chords carries the song’s opening third, at which point something becomes abundantly clear: Falsehood have both the balls and the songwriting chops to pull off basically whatever the fuck they want. And when the song briefly feints in a straight-up hardcore direction before going somewhere else entirely, Falsehood completely won me over. And as the rest of the album unfolds, each song seems to have at least one little surprise in store for the listener, whether it be the sudden drop and dramatic rebuild in “Militant Swine,” the slightly dissonant, classic rock-sounding (I know it doesn’t make sense on paper – just listen to it) opening of “Chain of Ignorance,” or the Isis-meets-Iommi riffs on “In the Gloom of Twilight.” They even manage the ‘epic closing track’ thing that so many hardcore/powerviolence bands try and fail to do convincingly, largely because they pack the labyrinthine “Deceiver” with enough riffs for three songs but still make it sound cohesive.
In the end, Falsehood is one of those bands where every time I think I have them figured out, they switch it up and knock me off balance again – to the point where I eventually resolved to just enjoy Falsehood instead of over-analyzing it. And if you’ve ever read any of my previous reviews, you know that over-analysis might as well be my middle name. But when it comes down to it, the only thing that truly matters is whether or not the record kicks ass. In this instance, the answer is a resounding yes.
Falsehood will be available on October 31 both digitally and on cassette directly from Falsehood’s Bandcamp page.