Fallingice is a hard rock trio from Italy. However, you might never guess that from listening to Meatsuit, which is one powerful slice of beef. This isn’t chopped liver, oh no. Instead, it is high grade steak.
The act’s centerpiece performer is its singularly-named singer and guitarist, Vice. Vice sings with the same tortured tone of Kurt Cobain. There were times when Cobain strained his voice so much, it almost hurt listening to him. His pain was our gain, though, because while all that vocal suffering just added to the music’s credibility. Much the same can be said of Vice and Fallingice. Granted, these song lyrics are not nearly as deep as Nirvana songs. Nevertheless, when Vice lets out a death curdling wail during “Too Bored To Die,” it’s simply impossible not to feel at least a little bit of his pain. He’s not attempting to entertain us by pussy-footing around his words; he’s exorcizing some sort of inner demon or other, instead.
This band only has a couple of basic speeds. There are the slower songs, such as “Unclear,” which start with gentler, jangling guitar parts and don’t sound so much like Vice is scrapping barnacles off the underside of a hull. Rather, he actually sounds somewhat smooth – well, as smooth as he can get – when he sings. “Desired” also starts off this way, as does “Inner Confusion.”
Fallingice’s second gear is fast, rumbling rock & roll. This momentum-building variation is best exemplified during both “Breathing Machine” and “Hands In Chains.” On these sorts of songs, Fallingice sounds like a train on fire, racing along the tracks out of control.
It’s difficult to decipher if these songs are autobiographical or just observational. Song names like “Teenage Boy” and “Too Bored To Die” suggest the ravings of a young person. Nevertheless, the group has been recording and playing live together for more than a decade now, so it can only be assumed that these three musicians are well beyond their teen years. Therefore, it might be that they are drawing upon the experiences of their youth, which is not at all uncommon in the rock musical realm, or they are simply writing about what they see around them. Whatever the case, though, these songs are – from beginning-to-end — effective and memorable.
The simple success of this music is another reminder of how sometimes the simplest formulas are the best. Contrast Fallingice with, say progressive rock. Progressive musicians pride themselves on how darn complicated they can write and play. Yet many times, their only fans are also other progressive musicians that pride themselves on ‘getting’ the music. To its credit, you don’t need a music degree to ‘get’ what Fallingice creates. This is noisy, simple, primal stuff.
To work in a second analogy, Fallingice is to rock what The Three Stooges are to comedy. The Stooges never tried to impress anybody with their verbal dexterity or quick wit. Instead, they just jumped right to the point of physically abusing one another and making the laughter go bang. Similarly, Fallingice goes straight for the pain points, with the pinpoint accuracy of a skilled boxer, until a knockout is accomplished.
This is not to say that genteel, thoughtful music is not appreciated. It’s just sometimes we want a real man’s music. We want sounds that replicate power tools. We need to know that lots of electricity is being expended in the process. It’s not enough to just play the right chords and sing rhyming words. There are those days when people just want to feel the music and proudly display bruises from it after all is said and done. Beware of Fallingice because this act will leave its mark on you, make no mistake about it.
Review by Dan MacIntosh
Rating: 4 Stars (out of 5)