Forest of Shadows - Departure
Firebox Records
Slow, Depressive Doom Metal
5 songs (61:05)
Release year: 2004
Forest of Shadows, Firebox Records
Reviewed by Nathanael

There’s bleak, and then there’s Forest of Shadows’ debut full-length on Firedoom Departure, a five song, hour long journey into the overwhelmingly depressive realm of one man.

It’s not really surprising that most of these doom projects are spearheaded by single parties since most of the music found on such albums generally conjures up images of antisocial hermits locking themselves away and musically pouring out their burdened souls. Sweden’s Niclas Frohagen does just that on Departure, a weighty serving of grief laden doom metal that never once rushes itself in getting its point across through its slowly building compositions.

If you consider yourself a fan of doom metal that doesn’t mind compositions that take their time, this is probably for you. Kicking things off with the joy-filled musical imagery that is Sleeping Death, Frohagen quickly establishes his fondness for music that builds up in a slow (and I mean slow) and gradual manner. Starting off with soft electronics, piano and Frohagen’s adequately bleak clean voice, steady drums eventually enter the fold, followed by light acoustics. It’s not until nearly eight minutes in that distorted guitars are introduced, accompanied by some nice growls and screams which carry the song up until a steady melodic guitar line takes control, later accompanied by soft acoustics that eventually close the track out. This technique of slowly building upon ideas is also followed on November Dream, but with greater success over the track’s relatively shorter ten minute duration.

While each individual element of Forest of Shadows’ sound work together nicely, the extended time taken for each to be introduced is a recurring theme that would deem Departure necessary only to die-hard doom fans who enjoy wallowing in their grief for extended periods of time, dwelling on each memory for three to five minute intervals before moving on to the next. This template is carried out on all of this album’s tracks save for the brief instrumental Bleak Dormition, whose steady depressive aesthetic plays out nicely without ever overstaying its welcome, a recurring problem on some of the longer tracks.

With production and mixing responsibilities also undertaken by Frohagen, this album sounds spot on. The guitars crunch nicely and the softer elements such as electronics, piano and acoustics sound clear and clean.

In the end this is the emotional epitaph of one man who basically handled every aspect of its production in an impressive manner. If you don’t mind depressive gloom metal that sometimes overstays its welcome at reduced speeds, by all means give Departure a spin. Just make sure you do it on a sunny day.

Killing Songs :
...November Dream, Bleak Dormition...
Nathanael quoted 70 / 100
Other albums by Forest of Shadows that we have reviewed:
Forest of Shadows - Among the Dormant Watchers reviewed by Andy and quoted 79 / 100
2 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 1 replies to this review. Last one on Tue May 31, 2005 3:54 am
View and Post comments