Merriam-Webster defines ‘doppelganger’ as “a ghostly counterpart of a living person”; an apt title indeed for The Fall of Troy’s second album and most noted release, now seven years old…
It’s unlikely you’ll ever encounter an album as forward thinking, strangely accessible and joyous as this: quite simply one of the most idiosyncratic attempts at a mainstream release ever recorded.
‘I Just Got This Symphony Goin” serves as a good indication of what the rest of the record amounts to; the lightning fast riffs, shrill yells and soulful singing of guitarist/vocalist Thomas Erak, the groove-laden and equally complex passages of bassist Tim Ward (of whose 2007 departure the band never fully recovered) and the consistent, creative drumming of Andrew Forsman, the member who’d bring order to the band’s anarchic compositions. In its four and a few minutes, the song draws together Dillinger Escape Plan-style metalcore with almost psychedelic clean vocals from Erak, alongside subtle background keyboards, complex time transitions before ending on a tremendous breakdown.
By most other bands, this would quite simply be a mess; TFoT instead make it work easily.
Indeed, their eclecticism cannot be overstated. Second song ‘Act One, Scene One’ alone contains audible traces of post-punk, math, screamo, traces of black metal and ambience to name a few. ‘The Holy Tape…’, ‘Macaulay McCulkin’ and ‘Whacko Jacko Steals the Elephan Man’s Bones’ stay along the same diverse lines. One may be able to criticise those songs due to perhaps a lack of overall coherence or structure; however, fear not- tracks such as ”’You Got a Death Wish, Johnny Truant?”’ and the famous/infamous ‘F.C.P.R.E.M.I.X.’, where the band plays close to straight down the line math rock/mathcore, are where the band succeed equally as well.
“‘You Got a Death Wish, Johnny Truant?'” begins with the band’s signature delay-pedal soaked fret board racing overlapped with the soaring singing and anguished yells of Erak and Ward. As ever, the groove-ridden drumming of Forsman remains the glue, which holds together every awkward bridge, every bass run and every guitar tapping frenzy. The song captures the main dichotomy of TFoT; an unending love of hooks and heaviness, positioned between being an ultra-melodic post-hardcore group and a misanthropic, self-serving mathcore band.
‘F.C.P.R.E.M.I.X.’, that of video games and the band’s lone single, is the song most will know the band for, if only for the oft-rumoured and eccentric meeting between its title. Undoubtedly the most coherent track of the record, it really shows the band at their straightforward best, all excesses aside. An opening, reappearing riff so catchy it could be hummed by stadium audiences; thoughtful, clear-voiced lyrics balanced between desperation and hope, as voiced by the mid paced timing; an all out instrumental rampage with breakdown and stunning build-up before ending on a familiar chorus. It all works out brilliantly.
Doppelganger again is a funny title as it signifies a record completely alone of its kind. Unique in its heaviness, melody, exuberance and forward thinking, it has set a standard for which the band could arguably never reach again. Now enjoying its seventh year of release, it’s important to remember the finest moment of a band so cruelly overlooked- bar one song. Here’s to what could have been.
Fondly remember The Fall of Troy and buy ‘Doppelganger’ via Amazon.com
Or Listen to the album on Spotify from this LINK
Words by Fin Murphy