If you‘re frightened of dying, and you‘re holding on, you'll see devils tearing your life away. If you've made your peace then the devils are really angels freeing you from the earth.
- Bruce Joel Rubin, Jacob's Ladder
Every single one of us is striving for something higher. Is trying to climb the ladder to heaven just like biblical Jacob did. Yet, the only thing we seem to accomplish is standing in our own and in each others way. Man is a wolf to man, homo homini lupus has taken the place of compassion and altruism. The way up becomes a fall. A reason to despair? Maybe, yes. All the more favourable, though, is to channel society’s drawbacks into gripping and touching music. This is just what Jacob’s Fall did – and with “The War We Miss?”, they wrote one of the most astounding, most tangent and most entrancing German Rock albums of the recent past.
How did it happen? Allow us to elaborate: This band here is a far-cry from a bunch of buddies content with playing the music they privately dig. Jacob’s Fall play the music that comes out of them all by itself. Of course it is influenced by even the tiniest experience you make in life, of course it is coined by the members’ individual preferences between classical music and Rock, between Metal and Pop. However, every last one of these experiences is dissected, analysed, felt, tasted and smelled at only to be reformed in the most original way by genuine music addicts Christian Faust (vocals, guitars, piano), Jens Pietzonka (guitars), Daniel Pabst (bass) and René Jauernik (drums and percussion).
Hence, it’s close to impossible do describe how “The War We Miss?” actually sounds. It’s Rock music, of course it is, but it’s also more than that. Jacob’s Fall like their sound playful and progressive, but then again temptingly catchy, dramatic and highly atmospheric, slow-paced and dipped into deepest minor, always carried and elevated by a tremendously strong new voice in the German music scene. In other words: Do you know the feeling when you listen to something utterly transfixed without even knowing what the heck is happening? No? No problem, just give “The War We Miss?” a good spin.
What’s so mental about all of this is that this is actually a debut record. Seriously! Yet, the roots of Jacob’s Fall go way deeper than their official birth in 2016. Some of the members were playing in nineties Dark Rock hopefuls My Insanity and toured Europealongside acts like Lacuna Coil, Samael or Therion. One of them was drummer René Jauernik. “We’ve all had our fair share of boosted egos, arguments and chaos in our former bands, we just don’t need it any more”, he laughs. “We’re all really into this band and just love to rehearse or hang out together.”
And before you ask if that is even audible on the record: yes, it is! With songs crafted on an international top notch level, with huge refrains and intoxicating melodies, the four-piece also left nothing to chance when it comes to the right sound and connived with a living legend: In his iconic Woodhouse Studios, producer Siggi Bemm graced “The War We Miss?” with an organic, warm and mysterious sound giving rebirth to the aura of groundbreaking works by Tiamat, Moonspell or The Gathering who also recorded in his hollowed halls. Timelessness is not only a matter of the production, though, because also the music is far from trying to sound too modern or too retro. Or, to quote producer Siggi Bemm: “They are an amazing band with an outstanding vocalist and highly original songs.” A huge accolade to come from someone like him.
Yet, these guys don’t even need it. Their music stands for itself – as does its contents. “To sum it all up, we set the failure of humanity to music”, vocalist, guitarist and piano player Christian Faust states with a laconic smile. And what about the question mark in the album title? “We have the impression that our society is behaving in a way as if it is literally longing for its own downfall. We really have the unpleasant sensation of an imminent escalation.” Well, there’s not much room left for optimism here. Still, their soaring, atmospheric Rock is far from embodying hopelessness. Rather, it’s elegiac, thoughtful and very serious. That’s because of instead focussing on platitudes and the same old clichés, Jacob’s Fall are seeking their very own catharsis. Remember the ladders we spoke of in the beginning? Well, one thing’s for sure: Jacob’s Fall will certainly climb up some steps this year.
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