Despite coming from “the darkness and wildness of the French Alps”, Michaël Hellström, the individual behind the one-man project Fäust, follows in the path particularly of the likes of Dissection, Necrophobic and to some degree Bathory, Watain and Sacramentum. He delivers his version of that pioneering Swedish Black Death Metal sound created and developed by those bands.
Fäust – Death From Beyond (Black Lion Records)
Release Date: Out Now
Words: Jools Green
Fäust dropped a two-track EP back in January as a tantalising insight into just what this project would entail, both tracks of which, Throne Of The Damned and the title track To Death And Beyond, which is a clever play on words too, when you consider some of the inspiration behind the album. Both feature on this release.
The first things that struck me about this release are the power and passion behind these tracks. This is music played with every ounce of Michaël’s heart and soul. The other is just how heavily influenced and inspired he is by those Swedish bands, particularly Dissection and Necrophobic, something that is hugely apparent from the offset with the opener When Death Spawn Fire which has a strong Dissection feel to the riffs.
This pleases me greatly. It’s good to hear new life breathed into the late great Jon Nödtveidt’s riffs and to hear them re-imagined again, as many of the Swedish bands, including Necrophobic, Naglfar and Sacramentum, to name a few, have also done. It’s a great track in its own right, opening on a tantalising build, then a driving wall of riffs ebbing back to a classic Nödtveidt style riff before resuming the drive, with very acidic Swedish style vocals to complement. And All Its Evil is again predominantly a driving beast, with the evil undercurrent of Naglfar coursing through its veins.
Next are the two EP tracks, the punchy Throne Of The Damned with its haunting choral backing vocals and title track, the raw and gritty haunting driver, To Death And Beyond with its reflective second-half pace drop and haunting, soaring leadwork.
Unhallowed Souls again captures well the Swedish sound. Driving, emotive and atmospheric, you can hear a multitude of influences and inspirations here besides the obvious Dissection influence and the second-half lead burst adds an extra lift to the track.
Just before the final two pieces sit the short instrumental, Ashes, a reflective meld of clean guitar work and choral backing that sets the scene for the dark, reflective penultimate piece Night Eternal which has more of those choral backing vocals adding to the dark edge of the sound. It’s generally slower in pace than the predecessors but all the more powerful for that, and the second-half soaring leadwork burst is excellent, heralding a last-minute elevation in pace to the close and a second swathe of leadwork. It’s superb!
The final track, Hellstorm, also has a reflective haunting quality to open but rapidly builds in pace, developing that frantic quality of a Necrophobic style piece. It also ebbs and builds nicely between these two moods before developing a very agreeable head-nodding plod for the second half leadwork to soar over, making a nicely textured and varied closing piece to the album.
In short, if, like me, you love a good old Swedish Black Death riff, then you will love Death From Beyond.
It is available to pre-order as a CD, Limited edition black vinyl or digital download from https://faustblacklion.bandcamp.com/album/death-from-beyond