Portent contains 41 minutes of atmospheric, melodic black metal. Effortlessly combining USBM with the old-school Norwegian variety, False have crafted an album that moves beyond either individual style.
Epic length black metal, augmented by engaging melody and immersive synths; Portent has the air of a work seeking to merge American black metal with the awe-inspiring grandeur of a band like Emperor. A lofty ambition it may be, but False seem up to the task. The three colossal songs that make up this release, (along with an outro), take an early Norwegian blueprint and make it their own. This American interpretation is not plagiarism or watered down, nor is it really a copy; this is more inspired by the spirit of Emperor’s legacy, (and that of others like Immortal), and very much stalks its own path through the darkness.
Let us leave the idea of Emperor and Norway behind, however, as I feel I have already made too much of this musical connection. The creations on Portent are False’s alone, and they’re pretty damn impressive creations at that. The band’s songcraft and delivery is at its peak at the moment, and each of these three songs successfully builds atmosphere and depth with ease. The songwriting skill that the band have is well-used, and these tracks never outstay their welcome, despite their lengths.
Propelled by an undercurrent of dark energy that seems to constantly be moving the music forward, regardless of the pace the band are playing at, there’s a vibrancy here that’s undeniable. The engrossing synths and dark melodies are infectious, and even on first listen you know you’re in the presence of something lasting, something that is going to stick with you for some time.
Portent is an ambitious and thoroughly compelling work of blackened art. Make sure that False’s world is on your list of places to visit.