It’s time for reissues for the musical creatures of Anders Eek, one of the main protagonists of the Norwegian doom scene. Fallen was a parallel band of the more famous Funeral (of which we will speak in the coming days dealing with the reissue of their second album) and, in the course of their short artistic existence, have left only one testimony on long distance, A Tragedy’s Bitter End, a work released in 2004 that got good feedback from critics. Unfortunately, the untimely death of guitarist Christian Loos decreed the interruption of Fallen’s activity, with Eek moving on to devote himself full-time to his main project. Solitude Productions now offers this reissue, which is improperly defined as a compilation, since it is in fact the reissue of the only album with the addition of two songs recorded before the death of Loos. Musically, A Tragedy’s Bitter End contains a form of funeral that’s quite bare but undoubtedly involving, even if not always completely in focus; the chance to talk about this old album gives me the cue to clarify a very personal point of view on the subject matter: as far as I’m concerned, the only possible vocal form for a funeral record is growl, period, and all the rest is boredom (in the true sense of the word), as someone sang many years ago. Kjetil Ottersen’s deep and forced tone is quite similar to the one used by Kostas Panagiotu in Pantheist, which definitely tends to give the sound a more decadent aura (besides the undoubted advantage of being able to grasp the lyrical content without the help of a written text), but with the unpleasant side effect of having to listen to a sort of Andrew Eldritch afflicted by adenoids. On the other hand, the attitude and the competence in dealing with the genre on the part of Eek and his companions is above suspicion, and it is clear that the tragic and inescapable hint of death that constantly hovers along every single note of the album is not the result of a mannerist performance. A splendid track like Now That I Die, with its seventeen minutes and more of pain that becomes music, is emblematic of the intrinsic goodness of a work that has rightly remained well impressed in the memory of the most hardened fans. The two compositions that integrate the setlist of A Tragedy’s Bitter End are Drink Deep My Wounds, which moves along the lines of the previous tracks while revealing at certain junctures more airy, and the cover of Dead Can Dance’s Persephone, rather distorted compared to the original but no less effective (also thanks to the use of a better calibrated vocal timbre by Ottersen). There are plenty of reasons to own this release, including the possibility of having an album that, at the time, was printed in a limited number of copies and that, today, is re-proposed with a new and more satisfactory graphic look.

2015 – Solitude Productions