As mentioned, the black metal band from Maine Rauros Falls‘planned sixth album The key to a dying future is out this Friday (3/25) via Gilead Media (pre-order), but you won’t have to wait until then to hear it. We kick off a full stream in this post.
The band’s goal from the start has been to never repeat themselves, and as such they have approached this album like no other album they have done before. The pandemic started hitting the US soon after they started writing it, and with all the shows canceled, they approached it more like a “studio album” and didn’t worry as much of how the songs would translate live. They also brought back some of their usual folk influences, upped some of their death metal influences and let the influence of prog/art rock bands like King Crimson, Radiohead and Pink Floyd shine through. The result is a beautiful and majestic black metal album and another stunning entry into this band’s already rich discography.
Listen to the LP in its entirety and read more about our conversation with the band about the album’s lyrical themes, vivid artwork (designed by Austin Lunn of Panopticon), musical influences, and more…
You said your new album is nothing like the previous one. What made this one so different?
A few factors contributed to the different sounds we explored on The key to a dying future. For one thing, we started writing the album a few months after the pandemic really hit the United States hard. We knew the gigs wouldn’t be scheduled for a while, so we went into writing the album without too many distractions, or any expectation of playing the songs live. We thought of it as a “studio album” in the way we composed it. That said, the biggest contributing factor to this new sound is simply the fact that this is our sixth album; we’ve always evolved and added new elements to every record we write, but on the sixth album we felt it was time to step out of our comfort zone a bit more. This sparked a lot of creativity and the ideas came quickly. It’s unclear if we’ll continue to follow this thread on the next record, but I think we all found it satisfying to break down some walls on this one.
Tell us a bit about the title of the album and how it relates to the lyrical themes.
The lyrics of each song loosely revolve around the concept of obligatory inheritance. We are born into this world without giving our consent, and we are left to figure out how to navigate a world that does not deliver on its promises. When you’re young and everyone is telling you to follow your dreams, that you can be anything you want, that you can change the world, it all seems quite achievable in the naivety of early life. One generation fills the next with these ideas which are, for the majority of people, complete lies. And so the keys to the future are passed down from generation to generation as the future itself continues to feel increasingly uncertain. The album was written and recorded in 2020, a time when anxiety felt like the zeitgeist.
Like your previous albums, this one has very evocative album art. What is the story behind this painting?
The cover painting was done by our dear friend Austin Lunn from Panopticon. We sent him the album early last year after it had been mixed and mastered, so he spent some time listening to it and asked what we were planning on doing for the album cover . Since we hadn’t figured this out yet, he enthusiastically offered to paint a cover for us. He’s collaborated with us on artwork in the past, so we knew he had good taste (obviously) and knew how to portray us visually. The idea for the cover came from the colors Austin saw while listening to the album, blue and white, which lent itself to a wintry scene. After landing on the title The key to a dying future the idea of a broken key in the snow was decided upon: a simple metaphorical representation of the increasingly difficult years ahead of us.
What were some of the main musical influences for these songs?
This is a difficult question to answer. I feel like our influences are so distant and heterogeneous that they’re not easily identifiable as we write. It’s a strange thing to say but the main influence was probably our previous albums; we try to stay aware of what we liked about our previous records, what we could improve on, and new elements that would add color and excitement to these new songs. For outside influences, we let a bit of our appreciation of death metal come to the fore, notably Death and Immolation. There was also more “prog” on this album, although that was largely a natural consequence of our willingness to push ourselves and play with time signatures and unexpected moments. That said, we all love King Crimson, Radiohead, Pink Floyd and the like, so spotting the influence of art-rock/prog bands isn’t too much of a stretch. Folk artists have always been a big influence on us too, but those influences were remembered on The key to a dying future.
You recorded the album yourself in your rehearsal space during the COVID lockdown. What impact did the pandemic have on the making of this album?
The pandemic had a huge impact on the making of this album, that’s for sure. Since we weren’t doing any gigs, or even planning to perform these songs live, we wrote with a very open mind. The experimentation was delivered without worrying about how these songs would be performed live. The writing came quickly and easily thanks to our ability to concentrate; what else was there to do in 2020? When it came time to record, we weren’t able to go to Queens, NY to record in person with Colin Marston, so we had to record ourselves. Our drummer, Ray, went to great lengths to get a decent drum sound, and he did a great job with it. Once the drums were done, we recorded the bass, guitars and synths in our practice space and our apartments, sending the tracks to Colin to re-amp and mix in his studio. The only other thing we had to record ourselves was the vocals and some acoustic guitar parts. The end result is something organic, a bit raw, but still clear and powerful. Colin really did a fantastic job with what we sent him.