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Fell Voices is a Black Metal band from Arcata, CA. Their work generally falls under the Ambient Black Metal subgenre, with songs lasting upwards of fifteen minutes; cryptic album packaging; indecipherable, manic screaming; and frenetic musicianship, particularly drumming. While still one of the more underground black metal bands from the U.S., their work has attracted quite a lot of critical acclaim from within the black metal fandom.

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Members

  • Joseph - Bass, vocals
  • Mike - Drums, vocals
  • Tucker - Guitars

Albums

  • 2008 - Fell Voices
    1. Theobromo - 16:42
    2. In the Hands of the Blind God - 20:18

  • 2009 - Untitled
    1. Untitled I - 18:35
    2. Untitled II - 20:55

  • 2010 - Ash Borer/Fell Voices
    1. Ash Borer - Untitled II - 21:20
    2. Fell Voices - Untitled III - 15:20

  • 2010 - Untitled (II)
    1. Untitled IV - 22:05
    2. Untitled V - 19:06

  • 2013 - Regnum Saturni
    1. Flesh from Bone - 17:48
    2. Emergence - 21:57
    3. Dawn - 22:07

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Tropes

  • All Drummers Are Animals: Just listen to Mike play (or scream). This carries over to his other bands Ruin Lust and Sleepwalker too, though to a less extreme extent in those bands. That said, it's also Played With as he's also capable of plenty of subtlety when the situation calls for it.
  • Ambient: A major influence on the band's sound.
  • Atomic Hate: The first album appears to be themed around this to the extent of being a Concept Album, though given the lack of printed lyrics and their indecipherability, only the band knows for certain whether both songs concern nuclear weapons. (The second one definitely does.)
    • "In the Hands of the Blind God" samples scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer discussing his ambivalence about producing the bomb, ending with his famous Bhagavad Gita quote:
      "We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed; a few people cried; most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita: Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty and, to impress him, takes on his multi-armed form and says, 'Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.' I suppose we all thought that, one way or another."
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    • The front cover depicts the Trinity test site slightly more than a day after the blast.
    • The back cover is a monochrome version of the only known surviving colour photograph of the Trinity test's mushroom cloud (though, for unknown reasons, it has been flipped horizontally).
    • An insert included with the album also depicts a photograph by Harold Edgerton of a different test in Nevada, lighting up the sky and dwarfing the Joshua trees in the area.
    • The same insert indicates that the album was "Recorded in the Summer, 63 years thereafter by Fell Voices," in reference to the year of the Trinity test (1945).
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • "Theobromo" is one letter off from the Greek for "Food of the Gods" (with accents, it would be spelt Θεόβρῶμᾰ, or Theóbrõmă). There's also the alkaloid theobromine.
    • Regnum Saturni is Latin for Kingdom of Saturn.
    • An insert with the 2008 album also says Non serviam (Latin for I Will Not Serve).
  • Black Metal: The band's primary style. They specifically belong to the ambient black metal subgenre.
  • Breather Episode/Subdued Section: Sometimes. Side A of their 2009 album has a break with rain sound effects over a simple bass line, for example. Both of their untitled albums also end with mournful piano chords.
  • Darker and Edgier: Like Ash Borer, with whom they've recorded a split, their sound is darker and more aggressive compared to that of other black metal bands from the west coast of the U.S.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: Every single album they've released has no colouring anywhere in its packaging. The sole exception is the first LP, which was released as a very dark green LP in some editions, which itself was almost indistinguishable from black (and 367 of the 515 copies were pressed on black vinyl. An additional 15 were test pressings, which were also printed on black vinyl, but also had different packaging; however, that also appears to have been monochromatic).
  • Drone of Dread: Pretty much Once a Song, if not more. In particular, all three songs from Regnum Saturni open and close with this (on a harmonium, no less).
  • Epic Instrumental Opener: A lot of their songs have long instrumental sections before the vocals come in. For example, "Theobromo" has over four minutes.
  • Epic Rocking: As demonstrated above, their shortest song (from the split with Ash Borer) is still over fifteen minutes long. Their longest is over twenty-two.
  • Indecipherable Lyrics: Not helped by the lack of a lyrics booklet in every single album. For all we know, the vocals on some of the songs could be wordless screams.
  • Leave the Camera Running: The Drone of Dread at the beginning and end of each song on Regnum Saturni could be considered an example.
  • Live Album: A variant: Regnum Saturni was recorded live in the studio.
  • Loudness War: Most of their material is released solely via analogue formats, so this trope is usually averted. The master of Regnum Saturni is clipped, however.
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Mostly between 9 and 10, with 10 probably being more common. They sometimes dip lower for Breather Episodes.
  • Nobody Loves the Bassist: Averted; the bass is mixed clearly on several albums and is even, in some places, the lead instrument.
  • No Title: Five of their songs and two of their albums are untitled. The fact that their first album was self-titled and the following two (which are untitled) were printed with just the band name on the album sleeve contributes further to the confusion, as does the fact that things that look like song titles are printed on the back sleeve of the band's second album. A lot of sites have the album titles wrong (for instance, Discogs has the band's first album titled as Demo 2008 and the band's second album titled as Fell Voices). However, the official tag on Gilead Media's digital release of the band's third album was Untitled (II), which should help clear matters up somewhat.
  • Refrain from Assuming: An odd case, as the lyrics are (as is par for the course with Black Metal) totally indecipherable, but the second album has two songs, and the back cover has two sentences that many people assume are song titles: "As Air to Flame, So Time to Oblivion" and "To You I Call, That I Better Know My Solitude." However, they aren't; both songs are officially untitled.
  • Sampling/Spoken Word in Music: See Atomic Hate above.
  • Self-Titled Album: They have one. Confusingly, because their second and third albums are untitled, they are also often assumed to be self-titled. Fans sometimes just refer to their early albums by their release dates.
  • Stylistic Suck: The production of Regnum Saturni is more lo-fi than that of their previous recordings, particularly on the first track. This was most likely a deliberate aesthetic choice.
  • Uncommon Time: "Untitled I" has a segment in 10/4.
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