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By the Spirits – We Are Falling

By the Spirits
We Are Falling
by Gary Hernandez at 03 September 2022, 11:25 AM

BY THE SPIRITS is a folk project of Michał Krawczuk, multi-instrumentalist hailing from Lower Silesian in Poland. The project was founded in 2016. A year after formation, Michał released a full-length album entitled “We Are Falling” as very limited pressing. Five years later in July 2022, the album was re-released via Eisenwald with bonus material. To be clear, this is not a Metal album in any sense of the word. It does, however, have a melancholic ambiance and touches on “ancient magick” and “the old gods,” so it at least remotely adjacent. Emphasis on remote.

Of the project, Michał states it is “inspired by nature, death and spirituality.” Of this particular album, he notes: "We are constantly falling down. We are missing something. We forget about nature, we forget about love. Furthermore, we blindly follow things that are not as important as we think. By making these songs, I was trying to retrieve the way to peace through contact with nature and real love. This album was made to praise the forests, the mountains, the true spirit of nature and love. It is also a journey through a spiritual path leading across the deepest woods."

The album comprises the seven original tracks from the 2017 take with no notable tinkering. As a bonus, though, there are two new tracks featuring added vocals and instrumentation from Valkenstijn (MOSAIC). The album is all acoustic-ish and mostly string with a touch of synth, though subtle and more as ambiance. The percussion serves the dual purpose of prompting the tempo and accents the tone, but don’t look for blast or even back beats. Michał’s vocals are baritone, clean, and well-articulated though borderline drone. Lyrics sheet not required.

Word on the street is the 2017 release garnered quite a bit of praise. I have to believe this was in part fueled by the scarcity of the pressing. Personally, I found the album somewhat flat and repetitive . . . and not just because it lacks Metal elements. The lyrics are interesting, but the music that moves them along is fairly predictable and unwavering. The best tracks on the album are the two bonus tracks. The introduction of synth and the variance in composition makes a marked impression after 24 minutes of acoustic Folk thrumming. With that said, my favorite track is “The Sounds of Wilderness” with the presence of heavy ambiance and the absence of monotone vocals.

I do enjoy the variety of Metal and Metal-adjacent music coming out of Poland in the last decade. And while I can’t say this album did much for me, I recognize for Folk purists it may be a watershed. So, if Folk without distorted tremolo, banshee screeching, or a parade of traditional folk instruments is your thing, then you should probably check this album out.

Songwriting: 6
Musicianship: 6
Memorability: 4
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Into the Dust
2. Bury Me
3. I Am Fire
4. My Sun
5. The Watcher
6. Cry Together
7. Love
8. We're Falling
9. Serpent's Lights
10. Hidden Among (feat. Mosaic)
11. The Sounds of Wilderness
Lineup:
Michał Krawczuk – All music and lyrics
Record Label: Eisenwald
     


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