It’s usually either a testament to the music or a severe case of procrastination when a writer finds himself wanting to listen to a disc ‘one last time’ before jotting down even preliminary notes to review it. With the Glasgow duo Falloch’s debut disc, it was certainly the former that had me listening over and over. In the brief bio that accompanies the music, Candlelight Records calls the sound “a growing glimmer on the shoegazer black metal horizon.” Take away the word “black” and it’s not label hype (okay it is but…) as much as a pretty apt description. With songs that range in length from six to eleven minutes, Andy Marshall and Scott McLean create music — almost tempted to say soundscapes — that are atmospheric, dreamy and pretty damn beautiful.

Where Distant Spirits Remain plays out like a cycle, revealing more of itself as it continues. The interludes at the middle and end of the disc are as important to the whole as “Beyond Embers and the Earth” and “Where We Believe,” the more lengthy compositions that sandwich the “Horizons” interlude — both include gentle acoustic guitar playing and drumming so mellow that less assured bands would never attempt. Here they are just logical pieces of the atmospheric whole that Falloch has masterfully woven together. The songs aren’t necessarily so complex as much as they are complete. If a heavy surge requires lush acoustic guitar playing and drumming so light it sounds like hand-drumming to balance it, so be it. If a flute sound, real or otherwise, enters the fray, don’t wince. It fits “Beyond Embers and the Earth” as much as the relentless blast beats. Moreover, these lyrics are presented in a melodic and sonorous voice without a growl, howl or snort to be found. This is a disc that will reward concentrated listening. It’s worth the time and effort. It’s pretty easy to sense there is something special with this young duo, which is playing its maiden gigs this month in the United Kingdom. Sometimes music that aims for the clouds winds up being more an endurance test than an enjoyable listen. That is clearly not the case with “Where Distant Spirits Remain.” Open-minded and open-eared metalheads (there are lot more out there than when I was growing up in the “Death to False Metal” era) should be all over this.

Released in North America on Candlelight Records