Falling Leaves come from Jordan, and, undoubtedly, although the Middle Eastern country has already given the metal scene a great band like Bilocate, it is always a pleasant novelty to be able to listen to metal coming from countries traditionally and culturally distant from this kind of sound. I imagine that it is not the easiest thing for ours to propose their refined gothic doom in their homeland (those in our parts who complain try to console themselves by thinking that there are always those who are worse off), but it is evident that this has not discouraged them at all judging by the success of the album and, above all, by reading the prestigious names in the scene who have moved to contribute to the realization of Mournful Cry Of A Dying Sun. Let us say at the outset that celebrity guests alone are never a guarantee of quality, but Falling Leaves prove in the course of the work that they can comfortably stand on their own two feet. Indeed, the compositional maturity exhibited by the band in each track turns out to be astonishing, resulting in a collection of splendid songs, particularly in their ability to produce melancholically dusky atmospheres cloaked in morbid elegance. Another crucial piece of information for those who will want to listen to the record is the total absence of any reference to the Arabic musical tradition, unlike the aforementioned Bilocate: the Zarqa band’s gothic doom is as orthodoxly faithful to the European tradition as one can imagine. Mention was made of the guests: the first to enter the scene is Josep Brunet of Spain’s Helevorn, who lends his effective growl to the opener Reaching My Last Haven, a song that does not leave much room for optimism with its dramatic atmospheres that accompany a heartbeat in its slow fading away. In Blight it is the turn of Pim Blankenstein of Officium Triste to provide his vocal contribution to a very evocative track, while in Trapped Within the violin rises to the forefront, something that, of course, can only lead back to the school leaders My Dying Bride. Silence Again (Silence Pt. II), a sequel to the track featured on the 2010 demo, accentuates even more this closeness to the Albion masters, placing itself in the wake of that gem of gothic decadence that was For My Fallen Angel. But it is with Vanished Serenity that Falling Leaves reach, in my opinion, the album’s apex: the song begins with a wonderful guitar melody that introduces the growl of the legendary Paul Kuhr (Novembers Doom); the gigantic (both in artistic and physical stature) American musician literally takes over the song, also giving clean vocals and a chilling recitative (no sun, no light, no hope…). Even when the six guys go completely solo (aided only by Norwegian musician Pete Johansen’s precious violin), as happens in the last two tracks, the level is absolutely maintained and Celestial, in particular, showcases Abdul-Aziz’s excellent vocal talents in addition to Ala’a and Anas’s guitar strokes. The album’s forty-seven munits fly by without a dull moment; if we want to find the classic nit in the egg (very subtle in this case), one cannot help but notice that while the guests, by their presence, provide a sort of imprimatur to the band, on the other hand they instinctively push the writing of the songs they are involved in towards territories more akin to the bands they belong to. But these are entirely marginal aspects when, as in the case of Mournful Cry Of A Dying Sun, what results is yet another gem of gothic doom gifted to us by this rich (unfortunately, only musically speaking) 2012.

2012 – Endless Winter