Are y’all ready for some serious headbanging action, as well as some hella moody passages? I hope so, because once again, I team up with fellow writer Xander and today we are going to be diving into fallfiftyfeet’s debut record, Twisted World Perspective. It’s a mixed bag of all sorts of stuff and it’s a really promising and fulfilling ride, so continue reading if you want in on all the juicy details!
X: Hey Robert, what’s cracking?
R: Hey Xander, nothing much, trying to survive this insane heat…
X: Oh yeah, I can only imagine, even though where I’m at it’s actually quite chill. So, Twisted World Perspective, am I right?
R: Man, am I ever glad that you grabbed my attention by suggesting this album. I would have probably overlooked it as it is a small band and it’s apparently not getting (at least yet) any hype around it. I think this is one of the coolest hardcore records I have heard in recent memory.
X: So glad you dig them! I found out about these guys through the endless treasure trove that is Mathcore Index, and what a diamond in the rough their debut album is. I imagine it’s quite tough to gain traction for a band based out of West Virginia, but fallfiftyfeet make an impressive case for their unique blend of various genres ending in -core on Twisted World Perspective, as I think you’d agree.
This album strangles your attention from the get-go and doesn’t let up for nary a second over 39 minutes of genre-bending, headbanging nastiness alternating with melodic clean passages. I’d understand if someone labeled this LP and its grab bag of styles ‘avant-garde’, but to me it’s just way more fun and raucous than avant-garde records tend to be. What do you think?
R: I mean, look, anyone can call anything — anything — it doesn’t take anything away. If anything, it may add confusion. I could understand calling it avant to a certain extent, although I would most definitely not use that term. Sure, there are some vaguely experimental tinges and progressive leanings thrown in the mix, but that hardly makes it avant. No stylistic bounds are broken beyond comprehension in any way.
I feel like this is an album specifically made for someone who wants to listen to a post-hardcore, mathcore, and metalcore album all at the same time, but just can’t be bothered to spare the time, you know? Hahaha. I think it’s an effervescent blend between all of the above, although I’d like to make a more detailed parallel as I feel it’s justified.
This record feels like an homage galore in a way. It’s like it pays tribute to the golden days of mid/late ’00s metalcore breakdown-styled riffage, early ’10s mathcore with tasty, screeching dissonances, and of course, to all of the ’00s emo/post-hardcore scene. More than that, it also feels like the band takes all of the above, not just as a tribute and an influence, but draws from a genuine love for them to rapturously exhale their unique vision upon us.
X: Your description of Twisted World Perspective as a love letter to prior influences is spot on, and I’d like to zoom in on your wording of choice here — ‘unique vision’. It’s true, a listener who checks out individual tracks might hear resonant echoes of TDEP in “Parting Gift”‘s frenzied time changes or mid-career Coalesce in the crushing, math-infused heaviness of “Commit to the Bit”, but these comparisons run out of gas quickly because they miss the point about what makes this record special.
What’s most exciting to me about Twisted World Perspective is not the way the group shuffles and recombines their influences, but how the band’s sound is both instantly recognizable and continuously surprising. One of my album highlights, “Situational Thriller” whizzes between passages driven by soaring clean vocals and chaotic riff-driven sections headed by Dave Wallace’s excellent, throaty harsh vocal delivery, only to alight on a bridge section of sparse rhythm and more cleans, and then back yet again for more more riff-o-mania.
If it sounds like I have a short attention span, it’s because this record does not let the listener rest on their laurels, confident of what to expect from the next verse, for even one track (except for perhaps the groovy metallic hardcore banger in “Parting Gift”). How cohesive do you feel the band’s constantly shifting sound is? Do you think the record is a jumble of disparate tracks, or is there a thread that ties everything up nicely?
R: I’d say this is Schrödinger’s Hardcore Album, hahaha. You could argue that it’s both a jumble of random elements glued together and that it’s a neatly and organically blended combination of many different facets. Although, personally, I’d go for the latter.
I feel like the transitions are very nicely executed and delivered with prowess and conviction. Literally any track could serve as an example for how I feel about this aspect, even “Parting Gift”, due to its intro and end, as well as some of the bits in between which give it much more nuance than a crazed, groove-laden affair.
Anyway, I think “The Gloom” and “Perspective” are great examples for my point. “The Gloom” starts out eerily with what could easily be a post-hardcore segment, which slowly but surely erupts into a frenzy of riffs and visceral vocals. The ascent is executed progressively and inconspicuously, so that by the time the song is over, you don’t even question a thing — you just roll with everything that happened because it just feels right.
“Perspective” does basically the same thing but differently. It just hits it off, guns blazing with a pounding dissonance and a fat bass line to really punch the idea home, all of which is, of course, amazingly complemented by the wild vocal delivery. Then suddenly, things take a turn for the melodic and the more heartfelt side of things, injecting a lot of mood alongside our aggression. As the two mingle for a while, it all reaches a dramatic climax which, as it burns the remainder of its fuel, slips into an almost sullen outro which dazzles by contrast and its tenderness. Aside from being one of the most apt album closers, it again leaves no question regarding anything in its flow. It’s normal that it unfolded like this, surprising as it may be on a first listen. It’s such an organic flow that it’s nothing short of amazing.
This, I feel, is appropriately contoured by the band’s level of performance and, of course, level of connection. I think it also speaks for the versatility of the members as musicians and performers. What do you think of this?
X: The tracks are incredibly persuasive in their energy changes, as you said, and I would agree that the flexibility of the band’s core trio — augmented by dynamite performances from studio drummer Julian Dinowitz — enables fallfiftyfeet to turn on a dime between various shades of heavy and clean passages. Each of these musicians is chameleonic in his ability to veer between styles so convincingly, and the chemistry within the group is such that each 30-second burst sizzles with energy and swagger.
Take late album stunner “Objects in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear”, which sports Greyhaven‘s Brent Mills on guest vocals. I’m wowed by all musicians here: calming down after the tornadic, grindcore-like beatdown passage early in the track in order to cycle through subsequent passages of calm guitar melodies and incredibly catchy clean vocal-driven verses is no easy feat, and props to the rhythm section for holding it down amongst about thirty dozen time changes. Of course, guitarist James Becca is typically at the forefront of the band’s costume changes on this track and others, with an axe tone that morphs to suit the style the band is aiming for, with a particular verse with a cool ease that attests to his breadth of experience and playing ability.
Anyway, we’ve been singing the praise of fallfiftyfeet for the acumen of its performers and the strength of songwriting that enables the delirious carnival of mirrors that is Twisted World Perspective. Did you have any weak spots about the album you wanted to raise, and, if nothing too major comes to mind, what direction could you see the band going in on their sophomore release?
R: It’s difficult not to sing basically only praise in the general direction of this band and this album. I think I can count on my fingers how many debuts are this solid. Honestly, after listening to the record nearly a dozen times by the time I’m writing this, I actively tried to look for any inconsistencies or flaws and whatnot. Nothing turned up. Everything down to the minutiae in production value is top-notch. As a snob and a nitpicker, I’m really impressed. It’s a surprisingly solid debut, so solid that it almost makes you think that it was either a fluke or all the steam went out with it.
I honestly hope this is merely the beginning in a long line of great records, whether they will adhere to this particular style or otherwise. I see a band that is frothing at its seams with power and potential, and it would be just great to see that bloom and expand into what it’s supposed to be.
I can’t honestly tell what direction a next record may take. It’s still quite soon to speak in any realistic terms, although I would definitely not mind some more of the same if it comes down to that. I think there’s plenty of musical territory to explore even in such a specific and tightly wound mix as the band presents. If I were to make a bet though, I’d say that it will be some variation of what we were acquainted with on Twisted World Perspective. Maybe some extra influences? Maybe a more experimental approach? It’s really anyone’s guess at this point. How do you feel it looks from here on out?
X: It’s a superb debut, no doubt about that, and the consistent quality from front to end suggests to me that fallfiftyfeet worked on the material that composes Twisted World Perspective for quite a long time. Especially given the high production value and mixing quality you mentioned, I am convinced that either fallfiftyfeet worked on the material that composes Twisted World Perspective for quite a long time, or they are musical prodigies with an endless bag of tricks and immense gifts when it comes to crafting music — the likely answer is a mix of both. In any case, they surely squeezed every drop of quality out of the engineering process at Silver Bullet Studios, which has produced records for big-name artists like Shai Hulud and Misery Signals.
I also don’t have a firm picture of what the future for fallfiftyfeet looks like, but you can bet your EIN-sponsored tuchus that I’m gonna do my best to catch the group at a live show as soon as I can.
I would like to see more from the band akin to the last couplet of tracks (“Twisted World” and “Perspective”), which, taken together, see the group expanding on and spinning off motifs for much longer than earlier in the album. I found the continuity and recursion of these tracks a fitting, relatively calm end to the roiling maelstrom that is Twisted World Perspective.
I hope fallfiftyfeet are able to channel the monstrous energy evident on their debut into further experimentation as time goes by, but whatever direction they take I’m sure there will be more pupil-exploding riffs, throat-rending harsh vocals, and anthemic clean breaks. They have established a high standard for themselves, and I expect them to work hard to top this release given the mathcore scene’s resurgence in the US of late.