Review by: Billy Geary
Fallen Empires – Our Last Enemy
|Industrial metal is somewhat a non-event in Australia; something not surprising considering the genre’s tiny market. Sydney five-piece Our Last Enemy are one of the few industrially minded bands that have been somewhat successful at their craft. Fallen Empires is the band’s debut and while it suffers from a lack of originality, it is the promising serving of industrial metal that the Australian scene is severely lacking.
Infusing their sound with much more metal than industrial, it is obvious throughout the album that Our Last Enemy listen to a lot of Fear Factory and the like.
Ultimately, this is the album’s downfall. It is painstakingly obvious that the band is still trying to find its own identity – something completely forgivable on their debut album. This is particularly true in the first half of the record, where the songs seem to meld together to form a thrashy mess. There are some great moments, such as the great guitar work on ‘Carrion,’ however one can’t get the feeling that with no real differentiation in the music, the first few tracks are somewhat a waste of time.
The second half of the album is much better, with the band branching out from their roots into some more melodic moments. This works much better in respect to the aesthetics of the tracks. This is particularly true on album highlights such as ‘Into the Light’ and ‘Pariah BC’, both of which feature prominent keyboards and off kilter rhythms. In what are easily the most memorable tracks on the album, Our Last Enemy have shown that they do indeed possess the chops to create some outstanding music. Most notably, it is ‘Into The Light’ that stands out the most, featuring a brilliant build up and climax and most importantly benefiting from a more eclectic song structure. In fact, the triple hit of ‘Pariah BC,’ ‘Into the Light’ and ‘Pariah AD’ almost makes up for the much less exciting first half of the album.
The spasmodic ‘Ants in the Palm’ is again something different, coming across as a more industrial Dillinger Escape Plan, which is by no means a bad thing. Vocalist Oliver Fogwell excels here; giving him a chance explores his range showing he is easily the band’s greatest asset. Enlisting producer Christian Olde Wolbers (Fear Factory, Mnemic) was invaluable to the sound of the album. While the band can’t be faulted technically, Wolbers’ influence has given rise to a highly polished sound that the record benefits from immensely.
While Fallen Empires – Our Last Enemy has its faults, Our Last Enemy have still succeeded in creating a very solid debut. Featuring a couple of ripping tracks and excellent production, there is definitely potential throughout despite the lack of originality. If Our Last Enemy can improve their song writing ability and put less focus on emulating their idols, one can envisage that by their next release, the band will be one of the better metal bands in the country. They definitely have what it takes to do it.