PERSISTENCE OF MEMORY
Released: June 23, 2017
Formed in 2008, Final Coil is a metallic grunge band that combines elegant riffs with ethereal, post-rock soundscapes, thus offering a very unique take on alternative rock. Initially rooted in the explosive experimentation of the US underground scene, in time the band evolved to take a more nuanced approach, weaving engaging solos into the dense riffs and experimenting with layers of vocal harmonies. After the release of two well received EPs – “Somnambulant” (2014) and “Closed to the Light” (2015) – the band signed with WormHoleDeath and subsequently released their debut album, “Persistence of Memory” in 2017.
This is a darkly collection of songs where the musicianship, songwriting, depth of emotion, and profound lyrics will have the listeners in a trance of beauty and reflection, from the get-go. The dense riffs are driven forward by the vibrant rhythms while the powerful vocal melodies act as a soothing agent for the heart and the soul, with some tracks bordering on progressive rock, while others can be easily considered rock anthems, and much variation in between. For me Final Coil’s sound seems like a mix between the atmosphere of Depeche Mode and the guitar attack of Nirvana.
You waste my time
Moths to the flame
In silent reproach
The album opens on grungy notes with the hard hitter “Corruption”, which wastes no time in grabbing the listener’s attention with its aggressive guitar riffs and mellow vocals, and I just love this juxtaposition. The melodic “Dying”, and “Alone” are more downbeat tracks, where Phil Stiles’ deep male vocals are more upfront, with the delicate guitar lines and groovy bass creating a rather dreamy atmosphere. There is a slight change of style and pace, as the up-beat “You waste my time” seems to be more alternative rock than the previous tracks, with neat guitars and vocal harmonies that dance around each other beautifully. “Myopic” amps up the heaviness, being thus in stark contrast to the previous track, delivering a dynamic interplay between the heavy guitars lines and the ethereal vocals.
At 10:03 minutes, the epic “Failed light” is the centerpiece of the album, with its progressive rock moodiness and intricate instrumental passages that highlight the band’s versatility and creativity. Continuing in the same vein, “Spider feet” combines layered vocal harmonies with groovy guitar lines for a more energetic feel. There is a constant switch between mellow and harsh that makes for quite an engaging song. “Lost hope” sees the band going in a doomier direction as the mood is darker and the guitars seem to be more distorted than before. With “Moths to the flame” and “In silent reproach” things pick up pace a bit, and the grungy guitars are again front and center, contrasting with the smooth vocal delivery. “Alienation” is a slower number that closes the album in style.
If I had a problem with the album it would be that there is barely any variation in the vocal department. I really like Phil Stiles’ vocals and tone, but I feel like I am listening to the same couple of notes and harmonies repeated throughout the album, which after a while seem a bit redundant. True enough the guitars and drums keep things interesting, but after a while that is no longer sufficient. I hope for more vocal diversity in the future.
All in all, “Persistence of Memory” is a very melancholy-sounding album, where the lush sonic soundscape creates an atmosphere that prevails over the metal aspect of the music, making it a breath of fresh air in the over-crowded, guitar driven albums that the majority of bands tend to deliver nowadays. It also shows that Final Coil have a lot of talent and potential for more, as they melded together various genres into a cohesive album, and I am really eager to see what else they have in store for us.
Rating: 8.5 / 10
Phil Stiles – Lead Vocals; Rhythm Guitar; Lead Guitar; Synths & Programming
Richard Awdry – Lead Guitar; Rhythm Guitar; Vocals; Programming
Jola Stiles – Bass Guitar; Flute
Tony ‘Ches’ Hughes – Drums & Programming