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Faetooth – Remnants Of The Vessel Award winner

Remnants Of The Vessel
by Gary Hernandez at 13 November 2022, 3:50 PM

Holy shit. Every now and then . . . every now and then a band comes along that just hits all the marks. A band that is authentically themselves, a band without pretention, a band with as much talent as intent. Enter FAETOOTH, a doom quartet out of Los Angeles, California. We first heard of them back in 2019 before the year of our plague when they released their four-track debut EP, “ . . . An Invocation.” It met with some critical acclaim, but to be honest it wasn’t until the release of their first full-length album, “Remnant of the Vessel,” via Dune Altar on October 28, 2022 that I heard of them. Upon listening to the album, it took me all of 30 seconds to head over to Bandcamp and also purchase their 2019 EP. “Remnant of the Vessel” is an absolutely exquisite monolith of Doom.

I have to admit when I saw the name FAETOOTH I was expecting Symphonic Folk Metal. Nope. No hurdy-gurdies, fiddles, or flutes here. Just a fist full of down-tuned riffs and all the darkness you can eat. In the band’s words, they “possesses the ability to bewitch listeners through trance-inducing riffs, alluring melodies, and rich lyricism that ranges from mysterious to diaristic.” (Confession: I had to look up “diaristic.” It does not mean what I thought it meant. Thank god! It means pertaining to ‘diaries.’ Thank you, Internet.) I have seen FAETOOTH referred to as “Fairy Doom.” Not sure what I think about that. Maybe the Gemma Files or Laird Barron type of fairies that will devour your soul, slowly and with evil delight but definitely not your Disney variety.

At any rate, “Remnant of the Vessel” comprises ten tracks, including two short instrumental pieces. It has a full runtime of about 50 minutes. The album is composed around three phases and signposted with three signifying tracks: “(i) naissance”; “(ii) limbo”; “(iii) moribund.” Tellingly, the pattern of “birth, life, death’ has been recast with ‘limbo’ displacing ‘life.’ This isn’t your typical cycle. An added nuance is that tracks “(i) naissance” and “(iii) moribund” are short instrumentals while “(ii) limbo” is a fully formed track with compressed but evocative lyrics. Each of the phases delves into their topic with well crafted, moving compositions and lyrics that read as meditative reflections. This overall pattern frames the album, offering a sparse roadmap for the listener follow.

One of the key strengths of FAETOOTH is their vocals which are shared across three of the band members. In execution they range from soulful and clean to visceral and guttural, as the song and lyrical intent demands. Another strength is the band’s sensitivity to mood and atmosphere. Each phase and each track are a self-contained exploration of an idea. But importantly, not in a self-absorbed echolalian or gastrolithian sense—as the band smartly extrapolates in “Echolalia” and “Saturn Devouring His Son”—but more in a meditative reflection.

Finally, the musicianship of the band is remarkable. The band notes they have been long time friends which has fueled their musical synergy. The twin guitar attack, Jenna Garcia’s dynamic performance on bass, the formidable tempo setting of Rah Kanan, and as noted previously the versatility of three vocalists all contribute to making this a surprisingly compelling band.

I’ll refrain from doing a track-by-track review, because, yeah, I don’t do that. Standout tracks are “Echolalia” which the band also features as a video; “La Sorcière” which evokes both beauty and horror; “Remains,” a melancholic track reminiscent of SYLVAINE; and the epic “Saturn Devouring His Son.”

Remnant of the Vessel” is thrilling in its promise and stunning in its delivery. FAETOOTH is a band to watch. Doom, especially Blackened Doom, fans will want to snag this release as well as the 2019 EP, “. . . An Invocation,” which showcases the band in a more raw and urgent stage of their trajectory.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. (i) naissance
2. Echolalia
3. La Sorcière
4. She Cast a Shadow
5. (ii) limbo
6. Remains
7. Discarnate
8. Strange Ways
9. (iii) moribund
10. Saturn Devouring His Son
Ashla Chavez Razzano – Guitar, vocals
Jenna Garcia – Bass, vocals
Ari May – Guitar, vocals
Rah Kanan – Drums
Record Label: Dune Altar


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