Last year's glorious, glorious Volvere album still resides in constant rotation for yours truly. Even after the endless onslaught of freebies, new purchases and rare finds that inundate the Gehlke compound, Volvere still stands strong amongst old favorites, new finds, and albums to be buried with.
With that thought in mind, anticipation ran high for Vantage. Jumping ship from an already sunken ship (Rage Of Achilles to Firebox Records), Fall Of The Leafe may benefit from increased distro and press if everyone plays their cards right for Vantage is another winner that deserves to be heard by everyone.
Still operating in the fields of provocative, atmospheric goth/rock/metal, Fall Of The Leafe still eludes a proper genre tag. Some cascading, smooth The Cure-like chords play a more prominent role here, yet the metal is still evident, although not as pensive as it was on Volvere.
'The Fresco' kicks things off nicely with vocalist Tuomas Tuominen crooning and swooning amongst desperate power chords and melodies. Its follow-up, 'Morning Works' breaks the floodgates wide open with a booming, hearty chorus that is revisited plenty of times during the song's span, but is so delightful, it could be played forever.
The oriental, exotic chords of 'In the Silence Of The Sand' elevate it to top billing on Vantage, especially when drummer Matia Aaltonen plays the role of Lombardo. This example, which blends two styles that have no business being together, is what defines Fall Of The Leafe. But let's not stop there.
While 'Off The Map Under The Sun' may be the only miss on Vantage, it is the clamoring swing of 'Cold Java' and the finality of 'The End Of Harvest' that capture Vantage as being just as well-rounded and thought-provoking as Volvere.
A quick summation of the power of this band will entail the torque of Tuominen's voice, which HAS to be heard, the jangly, melodic chord choices of primary songwriter/guitarist Jussi Hanninen, and the flair for the dramatic from 6 Finnish dudes who continue to out-write, out-think, and out-play 99% of what is out there.
Truly one of the most unique and dare I say, special bands going, Fall Of The Leafe has struck sonic gold once again with Vantage, and will be mining emotional nuggets in this writer's head for years to come.