Fall From Grace

Fall From Grace

Fierce Records, 1997


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


If Exhorder was called the "Gary Moore of thrash," then would it be wrong to call Fall From Grace the Morrissey of metal?

This four-piece band based out of New Orleans takes on some deep, dark subjects in the lyrics, all of which help to make the listener feel like they are not the only ones who have gone through such dark periods in their lives. This debut album, which was released about six months ago, showcases a band that needs to tighten up just a bit more in the performance and songwriting veins, but overall do a very good job.

Led by vocalist Wil Buras and ex-Exhorder guitarist Jay Ceravolo, Fall From Grace move from faster, more intense pieces ("Snake Eyed Savior") to more plodding melodies that should scare the evil out of anyone ("It Ain't Like That," "Gone"), while they rarely if ever lose the foundation of a song with a recognizable melody.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Buras's lyrics might be deeper than what some people admit on the couches of their shrink each week, but he knows how to convey the darkest side of human emotion while helping those who may be going through it relate to others' experiences. Sample lyric from "Feel": "If what you feel is feeling / I don't want to feel." Ka-pow.

If songs like "Seven Shades Of Grey" are any example of what Fall From Grace is capable of, then predicting great success for them would be relatively easy. But despite the strengths in the lyrics, sometimes one longs to hear Ceravolo just let loose on his guitar and pull out a flailing-limb solo to go along with the music. While his more controlled guitar work has its merits, one can't help longing for something a little rawer. (Bassist Marc Hernandez and drummer Eric Stierwald provide a very solid backbone to the band. Especially noteworthy is Stierwald's use of the double bass in some songs.)

The slower, more sinister "plodding" songs are a matter of people's tastes. I personally liked the more uptempo numbers on Fall From Grace, as I heard a little more anxiousness in songs like "Seven Shades Of Grey". Others might find the slower numbers more appealing than the faster songs. Maybe one of the things holding the band back was that Ceravolo didn't want to recreate Exhorder with this band; as the outsider coming in, he probably just wanted to fit his guitar in with what the rest of the band was doing. (His rhythm work is astounding, however.)

Fall From Grace is a disc that is sometimes difficult to listen to, other times disturbing, and at other times enlightening. (There's even room for humor, about 20 seconds after the conclusion of "Sin (Takes Over)".) If the songwriting is tightened up a little bit to highlight all the instruments in all their natural stylistic glory, this band should be stomping some heads for many years to come. As a debut effort, it's still worth your attention.

Rating: B-

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© 1998 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Fierce Records, and is used for informational purposes only.