Steve Fabry is the singer and bassist in black metal band Sercati and also has a solo gothic metal project, the Nightstalker. Falling on Earth, though, is the debut for his dark ambient project, Hezaliel.
Falling on Earth occupies an unusual niche somewhere between shoegaze and dark ambient. The tracks are assembled for the most part out of a mixture of heavily processed guitar and synth. On the first track, ‘The Time Is Come’, we’re treated to a simple synth melody and bells that wouldn’t be out-of-place on an old Cold Meat Industry record, paired with guitar noises that could have come from Prazision-era Labradford.
Even though many of the tracks feature simple synth melodies, Hezaliel always keeps layering and subtly evolving them through the course of the tracks, so that even on the seven-minute ‘Darkness in My Heart’, they remain fresh and interesting. At points, the album drifts into spacey drone territory reminiscent of Phelios’s more drone-oriented tracks, such as on ‘Breathing in the Darkness’. Unlike much drone ambient, though, Hezaliel maintains a strong sense of musicality. ‘Everything Turns to Dust’, for example, layers up many lines of melodic drones that are a pleasure to follow.
While retaining a coherent sound, each track has its own memorable identity. There’s plenty of diversity of sounds and moods on the album. The chiming chords and gentle music-box melody of ‘Forgotten Hope’ are followed by the aggressive growling of ‘The Great War’, which is followed in turn by shimmering synth textures on ‘Everything Turns to Dust’.
The sound design is competent and appealing throughout. Though it’s not at the same level as, say, Desiderii Marginis, there’s a similar aesthetic and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Hezaliel heading further in that direction in the future.
The highlight of the album is the penultimate track, ‘Light at the End of the Fall’, in which organ-like synths create a majestic and melancholic melody that builds and evolves and then is washed out by gentle waves of noise before returning in a delicate, stripped-down form and fading away.
Hezaliel has produced an accomplished and enjoyable debut. The area between dark ambient and post-rock or shoegaze sounds remains under-explored and Falling on Earth is a welcome addition to that genre.
01) The Time is Come
02) Light Becomes Dark
03) Darkness in My Heart
04) Floating in the Void
05) Forgotten Hope
06) The Great War
07) Everything Turns to Dust
08) Breathing in the Shadows
09) Light at the End of the Fall
10) The Earth