South West London’s Killington Fall refer to themselves as a ‘predominantly instrumental’ band. I know what you are thinking; ‘Urgh, instrumental records are just so damn boring‘ Well, that is where you are wrong, my friend. Bands like Mogwai and And So I Watch You From Afar have long since proved that, if done right, instrumental bands can be as vital and as exciting as any other band. However, that is only if its done right, and the problem is that it’s just so easy to get it wrong that, almost by default, I approached At The Soundless Dawn with a hint of caution.
You can imagine my relief then, when it transpired that KF pretty much nailed it.
Opener ‘Empress’ is a brute of a song driven by hugely impressive drums – which of course is half of the battle; if you are going to make instrumental music, your rhythm section needs to be much more than just background noise, and that is something that KF have perfected. ‘We Spoke In Flames’ and ‘To A God Unknown’ also benefit greatly from this fact but this is not to say that the guitars aren’t pulling their weight. Both of these tracks contain the kind of impeccable riffs which more than make up for the lack vocals here; although the latter does actually have some vocals, albeit kept safely tucked away in the background.
On the subject of vocals (well they did strategically use the word ‘predominantly’, didn’t they) ‘Soft-Point’ actually features a genuine lead vocal and more importantly, it isn’t shit, which suggests that the reason they chose to go the ‘predominantly instrumental’ route is because they just do not feel the need for vocals and not because they simply cannot sing. The song itself a bit of a slow burner that builds to a frenzied climax complete with gut wrenching, venomous yelling and pounding distorted guitars.
The record closes with the atmospheric ‘Paths/Trails (Pt.V)’ which is simply stunning. It is 6 and half minutes of reverb heavy guitar riffs that builds to a pulsating climax and will leave you astounded at how much emotion they can squeeze into one song without so much as a single word being uttered.
So then, while Killington Fall still have a way to go before they reach the same heady heights of And So I Watch You From Afar, they are certainly on the right path and will surely be challenging for the throne before too long. At The Soundless Dawn is anything but boring.