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JFH Music Review

Fallstar, Future Golden Age

Future Golden Age

Artist Info: Discography
Genre(s): Metal / Hardcore / Alternative
Album length: 16 tracks: 51 minutes, 26 seconds
Street Date: December 8, 2015


Fallstar has been floating around labels since the beginning. Their first album, Reconciler. Refiner. Igniter., was released on Come&Live, but the guys moved to Facedown Records for their follow-up, Backdraft. After a successful crowdfunding campaign, the band is releasing their newest record, Future Golden Age, independently. Musically, they continue where Backdraft left off, but they are a little more schizophrenic -- shall we say -- in their approach this time. Future Golden Age is undoubtedly metal, but it bounces around from metalcore, to rapcore, to even a little death metal. The band doesn't seem to be content sticking within one sub-genre, and unfortunately it leads to some continuity issues overall.

"What Roberta Sparrow Said" (a Donnie Darko reference) starts the album with a rapcore sound. The song has a really nice groove, but the extremely political content lyrically is a bit overbearing. The song starts with immigration, "Let the immigrants in, I'm a culturalist. Yeah, we share the same blood I'm all for it." Next up is Guantanamo Bay, "I was born to mobilize the voice of youth. Shut down (down) the armories. Shut down (down) Guantanamo Bay," which is followed directly by the use of drones with, "I'm pissed (pissed) we're forced to pay for drones to airstrike families." It's a great jam, but if you're not a fan of political agendas in music, or if you simply disagree with the politics on display, songs like this become very difficult to enjoy. "Spit" is a pretty cool song and features lyrics that reference Jesus healing the blind. Chris Ratzlaff sings, "So spit in mud, you can touch my face. Open our eyes and enlighten our hearts." "Circle Above Me (A Silent Voice)" is the first taste of death metal influence. The vocals are layered from clean, to dark growls, and then shrill and biting screams. That first taste leads to the most death metal sounding cut on the album, "Death Worship." While the track is far from a death metal song overall, the influence is undoubtedly the strongest here. "Write My Name in Gold" is the next song of note. The song has a super catchy, and softer, chorus, but a full-on metalcore verse. Overall, it's put together nicely and is one of the more interesting tracks musically.

"Radio (NW Hesh)" is also an interesting track to look at. The lyrics revolve around Ratzlaff singing about creating true art, taking risks, and never being played on the radio. "Slaves" kicks in after a short and soft interlude. The song jams and grooves similar to "What Roberta Sparrow Said" with that same rapcore feel. The lyrics focus on modern day slavery -- most pointedly slave labor/sweat shops and strippers. Ratzlaff sings, "I bought this shirt for $9.99, but the laborer gets paid a nickel and a dime." The bridge sums up the message with, "We can't say we never knew when we really should've known. When man is treated like animal it should stir your soul." There's almost a Limp Bizkit sound to the song, but it's an undeniably fun listen musically. "Under the Gun" continues the band's political message with lyrics that attack war, capitalism, and the NSA. "This is My E.L.F. Weapon" stands out as the most different from a musical perspective. It's a shorter track that brings a Mike-Shinoda-rapping-in-Linkin-Park type vibe to the table. The final track, outside of the minute long outro, is the second song about a spark -- the first being the Madeleine L'Engle inspired "Dance in the Desert" -- "Divine Spark." The song doesn't really rank in the top tier, but serves as a solid closer.

Fallstar has presented a mixed bag of material for their third full-length. The mixture of sub-genres provides some fun and variety at times, but at others, it just makes the album feel too disjointed. Some solid lyrical output is also offset by some strong political statements as well as a lot of anger. For those who are faint of heart, the band does use different variations of the word "piss" on several occasions to convey both anger and urine. Tracks like "Spit," "Write My Name in Gold" and "Slaves" make it a worthwhile listen, but as a whole, Future Golden Age doesn't reach the level of Backdraft.

- Review date: 12/4/15, written by Michael Weaver of

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JFH Staff's Second Opinion

Originally a Come&Live! artist, giving away two albums for free download, metalcore band Fallstar has since released one stellar album with Facedown Records and is back in the independent scene for their first Kickstarter-funded album. As a band with many different influences across a variety of genres (including hip hop), Future Golden Age is an eclectic album that aims to pummel the listener with an array of sound. Of course, a lot of the sound from Backdraft remains intact, which is great, because it was a stellar album. "What Roberta Sparrow Said," "Radio (NW Hesh)," and "Dance in the Desert" are all great examples of classic Fallstar. One of the tracks that stands out, musically, is "Slaves," because it seems to be one of the biggest melting pots on this album. Not only do they quote the lyrics "Hey! It must be the money!" from Nelly's "Ride Wit Me" (which actually plays into the message of the song more than any other reason they may have done so), but there's also a strong Rage Against the Machine vibe complementing the metal Fallstar is known for. They also implement a lot of clean vocals in this song, which isn't uncommon, but they sound more nu metal-esque here than on other tracks. "This Is My E.L.F. Weapon" takes the cake, though, for the most unusual track. An upbeat, synthesized beat leads to what I can only describe as a cross between Family Force 5 and a band like The Gorillaz. Maybe. I would almost say it doesn't belong on this album, but it strangely works as it is, so I have to give the guys credit. "Slaves" also works on another of Fallstar's levels, which is their heart for social justice, as consumerism and sweat shops are put on blast. Overall, Future Golden Age is a solid album, but feels a little long and maybe slightly disjointed. It gets better with repeat listens, but it doesn't have the staying power that Backdraft has. That being said, and with the disappointing offerings of Christian heavy music in 2015, Fallstar's latest is among the highlights of the genre for the year.

- Review date: 12/3/15, written by Scott Fryberger of


JFH Staff's Additional 2 Cents

    For those like I who believed 2015 had exhausted its slim supply of heavy releases, fear not; Oregon natives, Fallstar, have returned stronger than ever with their newest independent release, Future Golden Age. The band's previous record, Backdraft, was a superb effort, skilfully mixing elements of rap, punk, and metal. It was an eclectic combination, and it worked. In Future Golden Age, they explore this sound even further and fine-tune everything that made Backdraft as strong as it was. The highlights are many, but tracks, such as "Spit" and "Under the Gun," emphasize the rapcore elements pioneered in "Alexandra 363," while fans of their harder edge are sure to find pleasure in "Death Worship" (which features a crushing breakdown) and "Dance in the Desert," among numerous others. Overall, Future Golden Age closes 2015 in epic fashion, and it's one I'll be reliving for a long time to come. - 12/3/15, Lucas Munachen of

    Fallstar really broke onto the scene thanks to their stellar Facedown debut, but their fan-funded follow-up gives them a chance to have some fun. Listening to Future Golden Age is like hearing a band say, "We're gonna make what we want to make," and then proceed to experiment to their heart's desire. Not that Future is really disjointed (the family band is too intelligent to let that be much of a problem), but the band's mixture of punk, alt rock, rapcore, and metal is easy to digest and fun to rock out to. And ever the socially-minded act, their lyrics are provocative and designed to be pondered and analyzed. - 12/9/15, Mark Rice of



. Record Label: Rat Family Records
. Album length: 16 tracks: 51 minutes, 26 seconds
. Street Date: December 8, 2015

  1. What Roberta Sparrow Said (2:48)
  2. SPIT (3:18)
  3. Circle Above Me (A Silent Voice) (4:16)
  4. Death Worship (3:40)
  5. Impossible Dreamers (MFTM) (4:11)
  6. Summit (3:40)
  7. Write My Name In Gold (3:11)
  8. Radio (NW Hesh) (3:21)
  9. Interlude (1:05)
  10. Slaves (3:17)
  11. Under the Gun (3:36)
  12. Dance in the Desert (3:59)
  13. This Is My E.L.F. Weapon (1:25)
  14. Eros & Psyche (4:13)
  15. Divine Spark (4:32)
  16. Outro (1:04)


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