Review: The Mighty Fall – Filmed On Location
A mighty fine debut!
Emerging from the desolate wasteland of Providence, Rhode Island (I can say that, I live there) like Lovecraft before them, five piece metalcore machine The Mighty Fall self released their debut full-length album Filmed On Location on July 14th 2023. Following up their debut EP, 2019’s Look The Part, the band shows growth in not just technical ability, but a step up in songcraft, production, arrangements, and overall presentation. The Rhode Island music scene has been going through something of a renaissance the last few years, with a variety of genres and a host of bands occupying the local venues. Among the bands active in RI and the surrounding states, several groups taking influence from metal and hardcore like Edict, Orange Peaks, & Caustic Echoes have been gaining traction, and The Mighty Fall is right there with them on the frontlines leading the charge.
While on the record the group may sound like a single unit, they are a team of five. The dynamic voice box of the project is Mike Carp. Guitar duties are shared between Andrew Antonucci and Nick DeSimone (DeSimone also handled the art direction of the album). Lastly, the rhythm section is a double-decker Zach attack, with Zach Ruggiero on bass (and backing vocals) with Zach Caruso rounding out the quintet on drums. The group exudes tightness and unloads riffs, fills, and screams like a well-oiled machine.
“Coming Attractions” is an effective opening and sets the stage for the bombastic sideshow attraction that’s about to be turned loose. The samples create an atmosphere akin to that of a White Zombie record, but once the real opener kicks in, it’s guns blazing, balls-to-the-walls madness that only a group of guys from RI could concoct. “Hard Earned” is a pulse pounding intense kick in the teeth that completely caught me off guard. Fully equipped with ripping guitar work and furious drumming, excellent visceral vocals, and surprisingly good production, this track completely succeeds in starting the record off on the right foot. “Let The Right One In” is short, thrashing, and unrelenting (like my little cousins, but way scarier and with breakdowns!). This track adds in extra doses of post hardcore and metalcore in a way that’s reminiscent of At The Drive-In. Definitely a standout. “I Am Providence” keeps the energy high with a more straightforward rocker. The aggressive vocals mix well with the more conventional speed metal opening bits of the track. It can be described in many ways, but overall it’s a damn good time that comes complete with groovy toe tapping guitar solo.
“Hornet’s Nest” continues to prove just how damn fun this record is. From the catchy progressions to the ever-building intensity, this track is simultaneously an all out rager while still keeping a solid stylistic melodic flow. Another standout of the first half of the project is “The World And Everyone In It.” This fast and furious number makes me want to smash everything in arms reach. It’s meant to be played loud and played often. The way the track comes unglued at the last minute and a half is a thing of chaotic beauty. From the enveloping bass, fill heavy drums, frenzied vocals, and heavy riffing, it’s a badass barn burner from top to bottom.
“Intermission” begins the transition into the second half of the album with an unexpected acoustic-led slow burn. Somewhat of a western/dystopian sound, it’s a nice piece overall, but here is where my one gripe with the record shows up: the theme. As a cinephile myself, I do like the concept of basing the project around a movie, but the idea itself in execution does tend to break the immersion between the songs rather than create a progression of cohesive transition. That’s just a nitpick; the songs themselves don’t decrease in quality, but the theme does interrupt the flow just a bit. “Black Blanket” kicks off the second set of songs in a very different direction. Drawing on doomier and groovier sound pallets, this Black Sabbath-esque number is a stark but welcome change from the first act. The addition of and interplay between the harsh and clean vocals keep the track from feeling generic. Stack on a thick rhythm section and a chunky guitar sound and its another successful direct attack to the ears by TMF. “War Bride” brings back the frantic energy of the first act but adds in a flavor reminiscent of math and progressive metal. The band retains their distinct sound while taking pages from books of the past by bands like The Dillinger Escape Plan to make a truly entrancing number, with the guitar sounding like it’s screaming, wailing and bleeding all over the track.
“Hostage Of The Month” feels like a circle pit waiting to happen. Ferocious riffs, thunderous drums, and a bonus surprise cowbell- what more could a headbanger ask for? “Gone Cold” is another doomy number but is punctuated by some of the heaviest vocal work and dreariest guitar passages on the record. It’s impossible not to get lost in this one. “Don’t Be Sorry (Be Better)” is a visceral cut; you can feel the hate and disappointment seeping out of this track. It sounds like everything encompassing this song feels like it’s on the verge of coming unglued. Undeniably and intensely captivating. This number relents into the third atmospheric transitional piece, “Ends Credits.” The film theme fits best on this cut, as this tangibly conjures feelings of the closing moments of a disaster movie. It feels like one long lingering cut, the camera slowly dragging along the wreckage of a destroyed city as the album draws to a close.
The Mighty Fall showcases how they understand songcraft, catching the attention of the listener and not letting them go until they’re down on their knees swearing on the gospel of TMF. While noted previously, the cinema concept doesn’t always work; it’s a fun idea, and the overall energy, enjoyment, and entertainment value is so high here it does not inevitably take away from the experience enough. Demonstrating variety, a commitment to melody yet retaining an integrity and penchant for brutality, this is a record from the summer season to not miss that will feel even more at home in the fall. As far as debut full-lengths go, it’s one of the strongest I’ve heard in a while, and it makes me so proud that it came from a scene I’m so familiar with and proudly fly the flag for. The Rhody boys win this round; The Mighty Fall dropped a bombshell that everyone should feel the impact of whether they’re ready or not. I eagerly anticipate a second impact.
Standout tracks: “Let The Right One In”, “The World And Everyone In It”, “I Am Providence”, & “Hostage Of The Month”
Filmed On Location gets 4 out of 5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell
Filmed On Location by The Mighty Fall was self released on July 14th, 2023.