Forgotten Woods - Race Of Cain
Black Metal
9 songs (51:53)
Release year: 2007
Reviewed by Goat

So crowded is this ugly little runt of a thing called Black Metal that if you want to stand out in any way, shape or form you’d better be something special, and whilst many are satisfied to be kvlt and uncommercial, others want more. Of course, where a living legend like Mayhem can pop up every few years and almost casually drop an album that loosens jaws and twists minds with its mere existence, others have to work hard to persuade the krieg crowd to spend their time, money and patience on them. And in a world where everyone and their grandmother seems to be listening to the likes of Drudkh, different means something truly original.

Which brings us to Forgotten Woods, an old school Norwegian Black Metal band trying to redefine themselves for 2007. For the most part, comeback album Race Of Cain is dull, plodding, fuzzy, deliberately and determinedly retro, with songs built around repetitive riffs that go exactly nowhere. It sounds like a collection of demo tracks, quite frankly, with the production varying wildly in quality between songs, and when this is the first new material from the band since 1996’s The Curse Of Mankind - well, big mistake.

Throughout the first half of the album the band struggles to keep your interest, and then introduces a radical change in the second half to make damn well sure you listen. Having just endured the nine-minute plus Here, In The Obsession, which goes from more of the same repetitive riffery to pure ambience, and would be a good song were it half as long, you’re suddenly treated to The Principle And The Whip, a laid back song with female vocals that owes more to Sonic Youth’s drones and Joni Mitchell’s haunting beauty than Darkthrone. It’s excellent, but doesn’t fit at all on the album, and is so obvious and cynical an attempt at gaining the band critical kudos for experimentation that it works against them; especially when follow up track Nightly Paradise heads back to previous territory, albeit more groovier and with solos.

The biggest mistake that the band makes, however, is the final track, Third Eye (New Creature) , which contains a long extract from a radio talk show where there’s some kind of discussion about Christians. Yes, we get it, they’re all brainless sheep, but if you’re not going to underscore the point with some awesome Death Metal brutality a la Deicide, no one cares. As the final track and thus highlight of the album, it’s simply ridiculous, and about as unsatisfying as it’s possible to get.

What is especially insulting is that the bones of a decent album are buried here. The intro track is good, using a sampled voice and basic Noise to excellent effect, whilst extra riffs and a more even production would make the following songs worthy of the album. Race Of Cain is ultimately a huge disappointment, a lazy collection of mostly poor songs that will frustrate even rabid fans of the band. With comeback albums of this quality, Forgotten Woods will live up to its name and soon erode the goodwill it has built up over the years. One to forget, surely enough.

- MySpace
Killing Songs :
Race Of Abel, The Principle And The Whip
Goat quoted 38 / 100
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