Fear Falls Burning - Disorder Of Roots
After eight years, Belgian experimentalist Dirk Serries is bringing his much-loved Fear Falls Burning project to a close with one last dip into the blissful waters of his guitar drones. Disorder Of Roots is a deep, lush landscape of layered loops and thumping drum patterns crafted with the skill of a master, eliciting a true sense of hypnotic comfort and thoughtless relaxation. This is no simple turned-up-to-eleven ringing drone, this is a meticulously planned venture into the hinterlands of the human mind, a daring voyage into that mysterious gap between the conscious and subconscious.
More than anything, Disorder Of Roots is an enthralling emotional rollercoaster, continuously building and releasing the tension over all four parts with a skill that leaves the listener wracked and breathless by the end. You cannot simply just dip a toe into these songs, or even the album, the magic is in the aural tale that is narrated from beginning to end; to do otherwise would be to miss the point, and renders this immersive experience nonsensical and confusing.
Why is Disorder Of Roots deserving of such a high score in comparison to a number of other excellent records of late? In essence, it is the magnitude with which it envelopes the subject within its mesmeric tendrils. Few albums are able to so completely take over and block out all external thought, putting this on a par with the true greats of the genre like Earth 2 or ØØ Void. Even more so than previous Fear Falls Burning records, Disorder Of Roots is spacious enough to truly relax, yet not so drawn out as to fall into lulls of boredom.
When the disc first arrived, I sat in the middle of my living room with the music turned right up, feeling every rumble and pulse through the floor and sinking into a strange daze as the massive drones took over. Very few albums ever have such an impact, and even with expectations sky high and trepidation on full, this still managed to shock, amaze and enthral in equal parts.
The continual steps away from the pure guitar drones of He Spoke In Dead Tongues is certainly desirable in a world now full of artists recording hours of feedback, though the heavy use of drums will continue to divide the crowd. On all four tracks they are hugely prominent in the mix, at times even distracting from the swelling centrepiece of Serries' delicate loops. But the album would lose some of its impact and drive without them I believe, and become prone to the genre's biggest trap – meandering into nothingness.
And just as this journey comes to an end, one final surprise is saved for the last few minutes. After three albums and countless other releases - all fully instrumental - Michiel Eikenaar adds his piercing, demonic wails as 'I Provoke Disorder' draws to a close. Unsettling and disturbing, it took a few listens before they started to feel "right" as they cut through the sparse, distorted loops. As the piece builds up to its crushing conclusion, they meld into the vast wall of noise, becoming less like vocals in the conventional sense and more like another tortured sound.
I for one will miss Fear Falls Burning now that it has been put to bed, but in many ways Disorder Of Roots is the most fitting note on which to bow out. This comes as close to the perfection of an ideal as you or I are likely to hear for a long while.