Sunday, January 17, 2016

Ancient Forest 'Presence' Review..ONE MAN BLACK METAL

When I first saw the words 'Depressive Black Metal' next to the artist name, I will admit I became skeptical, I am the first to throw my hands up and say I definitely don't consider myself a Black Metal connoisseur by any stretches of the imagination, But if a band from the BM world catch my ear and make me feel something in-explicably epic, then I am more than happy to add it to my collection.

In my experience with this sub-genre, there are plenty of groundbreaking, pioneering acts really pushing the boundaries and are not afraid of trying a fresh approach or crossing over, but all too many emerging bands remain too scared to stray from the well-trodden musical path with no thoughts of experimenting for future influence.

Thankfully, instead of following the pack, one man Black Metal artist 'Ancient Forest' focuses his attention on creating a dark, ethereal world with a smattering of unpredictability to reflect the artwork and lyrical themes.

In opening track ‘Distant Shadows’ fuzz drenched guitars drone and groan wonderfully, coupled with hypnotic drum beats, while chilling vocals speak of ‘landscapes of solitude’ conjuring up visions of desperate souls eternally wondering the earth long after their deaths with ‘no place to rest’.

A spidery, guitar pattern leads into the second and my personal favourite track of the demo:
‘Beyond Elements.' The vocals now transform into barely a whisper but still remain possessed and just as menacing as before. A sudden and unexpected stop and a demented cry of ‘It has begun’  cue up the dream-like swaying outro, with a very sweet chord progression,  laying the song to rest in a shallow grave of amplifier feedback. I enjoyed the slow pace kept throughout the release, which has an almost meditative effect on myself.

The only things stopping me giving this release a higher score are:

The Production: Yes I know black metal is a genre built on a more lo-fi approach to recording, but even bringing the vocals up just a notch would bring more of an intensity to the tracks. Also I am not sure if the bass guitar was intentionally left out just leaving guitars, drums and vocals or it's just buried in the mix, but I would love to hear it included more to thicken up the guitar parts or add a complementary pattern.

The length: Unfortunately there are only two tracks. Even just one more track is something I am really missing, the stunted length had me constantly pressing repeat just to re-enter the blackened ancient forest once again.

A very promising beginning.
It has indeed Begun.....


Check out an interview I conducted sole member with Zagast here

You can listen to and purchase Presence here:

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