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Benton Falls - Fighting Starlight (Cover Artwork)

Benton Falls

Benton Falls: Fighting StarlightFighting Starlight (2001)
Deep Elm Records

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


Contributed by: AnchorsAnchors
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Deep Elm Records has long been renowned for being one of the foremost carriers of "emo." There's no doubt that Deep Elm has had some solid releases in that contingent, such as The Appleseed Cast's End Of The Ring Wars, and Cross My Heart's Temporary Contemporary. In addition, the long running Emo Di.
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Deep Elm Records has long been renowned for being one of the foremost carriers of "emo." There's no doubt that Deep Elm has had some solid releases in that contingent, such as The Appleseed Cast's End Of The Ring Wars, and Cross My Heart's Temporary Contemporary. In addition, the long running Emo Diaries series has been a staple, featuring for the first time bands such as Red Animal War, Planes Mistaken For Stars, and Benton Falls. Benton Falls were first showcased with a track called "Tell Him" on Emo Daires Vol. 6. Three short months later in 2001, we had Fighting Starlight. Some people might be turned away by the 'emo' label before they're able to give this a listen, and that's really a shame.

Benton Falls does so many things well, but a good point to start would be the vocals. Singer Michael Richardson has one of the most honest and engaging voices music has heard in a while. You'll find this to be in the vein of Mineral, Knapsack, or Sunny Day Real Estate; not exactly bad company. Such a sincere and emotive voice will make the lyrics, dealing with such subjects as alcohol dependency and heroin addiction all the more poignant, and makes them hit you that much harder. The guitar swirls will lull you in, and every line of every song will hit you harder than the last. Richardson's voice flows effortlessly through the songs and has a way of putting such dark subject matter relatable to those who've never felt what's being sung about. The album's best track "No Hero" deals with heroin addiction, and does it in a very hard hitting way. "Black eyes, arms were skinny / I did not recognize, your pale face / White like bleach / It's hard for me to preach / When everyone's to blame." Pardon the cliché, but the lyrics accompanied with the vocals really do pull on your heartstrings. Equally heart-wrenching, "Sad Like Winter Leaves" (what a gay emo title, lolz Oi Oi Oi!) tells the story of someone whose alcohol dependency has outgrown everything else in their life. "He stood in line at the grocery store / A bottle of wine and nothing more / An empty apartment to go home to / It'd been that way since nineteen seventy-two / A line on his face for every year she'd missed / A scar on his arm for every time he tried to follow her." The slow pace of the song helps bring the point across further, engulfing your senses and putting you right in the music. The song ends with a gut-wrenching repeated scream of "let it go..." The screaming is rare on this album, but when it's there, it adds even more impact to the song than what originally existed. The lyrics throughout are well written and only serve to further the experience with Michael Richardson's vocals.

Lyrics and vocals are important, yes, but overall musicianship has to be tight for a complete package. And luckily, Benton Falls delivers there as well.

This album is a sweeping musical experience, going from being lulled by near spoken vocals to distorted guitars and anguished screams. It's a full experience with tempo changes, layered guitars, and drums that never miss a beat. Richardson also handles lead guitar duties, and pulls it off quite well. There's such a raw feel to the vocals that the clean guitar sounds contrast them to perfection. The clean guitars, emotive vocals, and subtle tapping on the snare drum all put the listener in such a surreal sense of calm, that you're sucked in for the album's duration. But there are those more up-tempo songs on the album, with their crunching guitars and screamed vocals, with a real sense of urgency. Like this is a band who's got something to prove, and not much time to do it in. But the tempo changes come off so efortlessly, as in "All These Things" and "Always Behind A Smile," that you'd have never known they had a softer side at all.

This is a solid release, folks. Deep Elm has done well for themselves to sign this band. Or they did, anyhow, because to the best of my knowledge this band has broken up recently. After releasing 2003's Guilt Beats Hate. A shame if it's true, as this was then a band with so much to offer. If you like anything on Deep Elm's roster, this is definitely something you'll want to pick up. Or if you're a fan of emotional, well-played and intelligent music, this is also something you'll do well to check out.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (January 12, 2005)

As far as nobody of you know, there' s a second album of Benton Falls called 'Guilt beats Hate'. It's also on deep elm. What are you doing the whole day? Look in the mirror and imagine how cool you could be? I'm from germany and now that, Idiots. And yes, it is one of the best Bands around. Try Waxwing to get a similiar sound.

sebastian

Anonymous (December 25, 2004)

I am so fucking gay. I seriously love taking it up the ass. But I only have the courage to state it in reviews that have been bumped down to the bottom of the page.

-inspection 12

Anonymous (December 24, 2004)

Im a fan of this band

Anonymous (December 24, 2004)

hey, i12e, you know the band or mike? where are you getting your info that they aren't broken up?

Anonymous (December 23, 2004)

you know it. so mr.anon why not post your name? jean aka chinatown?

Anonymous (December 23, 2004)

i12e loves the cock

Anonymous (December 23, 2004)

they have not broken up.

-i12e

Anonymous (December 23, 2004)

i saw these guys once in hte shelter in detroit with counterfit. literally my little sister and i were the only ones not being paid to be there, though i was there as an intern to pass out flyers afterward, which was of no use. still these guys fucking blew me away. haven't heard anything they have done since thier first record though

lou (December 22, 2004)

mineral, knapsack, and sdre are good company to be in. i've never taken the time to listen to this band, but now i want to. so i'd say the review was successful to a point. good job.

Anchors (December 22, 2004)

Mongoloid can mean one of three things.

1) I have Downs Syndrome.
2) I've descended from native peoples in Eastern Asia.
3) I've descended from Mongolians themselves.

I don't have Downs Syndrome, and I'm Causasian, so that leaves one possible altenative. I'm in some way, shape, or form, related to Ghengis Kahn. And let's be honest, Ghengis Kahn was a bad mother fucker. Much like Rasputin and Samuel L Jackson.

So if comparing me to the toughest man ever, and the coolest black man ever is your way of insulting me, forgive me for not wanting to return the favor.

Anonymous (December 22, 2004)

"Chinatown, you're not the most intelligent kid who posts here, but even you can do better than a 'your mom lolz' retort.

That's nothing more than lame."

that sounds funny coming from a mongoloid.
twat

Anonymous (December 22, 2004)

"benton falls is not broken up. you can get NEW demos from the band on deep elms website. do your research first kiddo."

maybe you should do some research, champ. they are done. benton falls or the singer recorded an albums worth of music before deep elm became fucking idiots about something. they're done. it's been stated many times, by both people who know nothing, and by people who know the singer of the band. benton falls won't tour again, tho deep elm will likely torture us all with samples of the album they have and then release it.

Anonymous (December 22, 2004)

yours isn't bad, it's just fate that brought my comment to your review board. at least you reviewed a good record...nearly everything else on this site is garbage.

Anchors (December 22, 2004)

As has been said a million times;

You want better? Try writing one yourself. Make a username, and write a review. I'll be eager to see it.

Anonymous (December 22, 2004)

most of the reviews on this site suck balls. who writes this crap?

Anchors (December 22, 2004)

Chinatown, you're not the most intelligent kid who posts here, but even you can do better than a 'your mom lolz' retort.

That's nothing more than lame.

Anonymous (December 22, 2004)

"please do not correct grammar until you fix that awful Fugazi review.

WNB
-jd"

Do write a review. I now see and realize that my End Hits review was a bit superficial and half-assed, but that's because I was thinking about all the times I spent with your mother as I wrote it.

-Chinatown

Anonymous (December 22, 2004)

deep elm continues to put out good emo records.

this album is super sweet...& I don't think they've broken up, as my friend recently acquired 3 rough demos of new songs...good stuff, a little more indie rock than guilt beats hate...

Anonymous (December 22, 2004)

please do not correct grammar until you fix that awful Fugazi review.

WNB
-jd

Anonymous (December 21, 2004)

I see that Adam or Aubin read my post....

-Chinatown

Anonymous (December 21, 2004)

Dear Anchors,

"Renoun" isn't a word.

-Chinatown

Anonymous (December 21, 2004)

the thing is you have to be a forum member to hear the songs. it's free to sign up of course. if you do sign up its under the section deep elm music.

Icapped2pac (December 21, 2004)

hey i12e, give us a link on those demos.

Anchors (December 21, 2004)

I don't recall exactly how I was told they broke up.

And they don't have an operating website, and every time I've checked Deep Elms site, there is no news, tour dates, or anything for them. I was not able to find any new demo recordings, as somebody suggested.

It does however say that they have a new album coming out, at an undetirmened time, and it's yet un-named.

So apparently, they are still a band, though they're making it tough to know for sure.

Anonymous (December 21, 2004)

benton falls is not broken up. you can get NEW demos from the band on deep elms website. do your research first kiddo.

-i12e

Icapped2pac (December 21, 2004)

Solid album. I bought this and "Guilt Beats Hate" like a year and a half ago, and they haven't left my CD book in my car since. GBH gets a 9, but this one drags a little.

Also, how did you arrive at the conclusion that they had broken up? I know one guys is in The New Trust, but I thought that that was a side-project type of thing. I certainly hope they're not done, I haven't even had ample time to even get into them.

xmidipunkbastardx (December 21, 2004)

i
love
this
band.

still i like camber a little more

sethcohen (December 21, 2004)

I saw them play I think two and a half years ago with The Beautiful Mistake in bumfuck South Carolina, and they were solid. funnily enough, the opener was the All American Rejects pre Doghouse Records

Anchors (December 21, 2004)

You're really doing yourself a disservice by not reading the entire review, or checking these guys out.

And anyway, two of the times the word emo was used, it was in reference to the compliation albums that Deep Elm has been putting out for years.

Anonymous (December 21, 2004)

"Some people might be turned away by the 'emo' label before they're able to give this a listen, and that's really a shame."

Maybe you should cut down on the amount of times you use the word.

On average, It takes three repetitions of a word for it to sink into your head. By using it in every second sentence in your opening paragraph, you've pretty much done the word association thing.

Score is for not reading the review past the first paragraph, or bothering to check out the band. It's probably just another crappy emo band anyway.

Anonymous (December 21, 2004)

Does Deep Elm only put out emo?

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