There is a notion of mystical pastoralism in the music that Falls of Rauros makes. There’s light and darkness; sunshine and rain; long passages inspired by folk and bluegrass that fall away into crushing metal; rolling slabs of riffs intermingled with soft, acoustic loveliness. Some call it folk metal, others black metal; but it’s something more, or different than that. Experimental, if you will, with a constant undercurrent of foreboding.
“There’s no shortage of adventurous and genre bending music out there, be it underground metal or otherwise. That ground has long been broken and repaved countless times,” said Aaron, guitarist for the Portland-based band, who prefer to keep their individual identities a bit of a mystery. “Everyone in the band has a lot of similar taste in music, but also plenty of diverging preference and focus. We figure it makes more sense to listen to lots of music and broaden our palette.”
The band is named for the fictional waterfall that carries the River Anduin through the Emyn Muil towards Gondor in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth — over which Boromir’s body was sent, in a boat, after he sacrificed himself to save Merry and Pippin at the beginning of “The Two Towers.” It’s an evocative symbol entirely appropriate for the themes of decay and growth, power and softness, solitude, wildness and transformation woven throughout the band’s three albums. It’s also an extremely metal name for a band.
The newest Falls of Rauros album, “Believe In No Coming Shore,” the band’s first since 2011’s “The Light That Dwells In Rotting Wood,” is due out on Michigan-based underground metal label Bindrune Recordings in the coming weeks. A preview track will be available on YouTube in the coming days; an official release date has not yet been set, though it’s expected to arrive in the next two months. The band will kick off an East Coast mini tour at 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 19 with a show at the Space Gallery in Portland, with guests Butcher Boy, Ramlord and Feral, the latter of which features members of Falls of Rauros.
Falls of Rauros — Aaron, Ray, Evan, Jordan — have been based out of Maine since forming in 2005. Aaron and Evan, brothers, grew up just north of Portland, and have been playing music together since childhood. Ray has been a musical collaborator with Aaron since grade school.
The first Falls of Rauros album, “Revisitation,” is comprised of those early recordings, before Jordan joined the band and Evan became a regular member. By 2008, “Hail Wind and Hewn Oak,” their first proper album, was released, cementing them as one of the most sonically inventive bands in Maine.
“We met a long time ago. We all went to grade school together… Different configurations of the four of us have been playing music together for years and years,” said Aaron. “Initially only Ray and I were in the band, writing and recording songs off the cuff… Basically we write what we want to hear and then reel it back to avoid incohesion and to keep things tasteful.”
The jagged coastlines, pristine forests and hidden natural corners of Maine have long been a source of inspiration for the brothers.
“The landscape and demeanor of Maine’s wilderness has no doubt had a pretty massive influence on the music we make,” said Aaron. “It’s a beautiful and distinctive place, and to find yourself in a state of near-alone, near-transformative wandering or rest in this region is indescribable.”