Sunday, July 28, 2013

new death doom Forlorn Path: "Man's Last Portrait"

If you like to check out new death doom bands, ones that are laboring in relative obscurity, paying their dues and doing self-releases, then here's Forlorn Path. They are still in their initial phase of finding their definitive sound, in this, their third self-release, but are clearly showing good signs of strong potential. Forlorn Path is not funeral doom, but it is certainly on the "death doom" part of the metal world. As you can imagine, Forlorn Path is no lightweight, half-hearted effort. Instead, this music speaks volumes about their desire to play doom, and to pour their work, time and money to make music that has a pretty specialized audience. Will it get noticed by many people? Will they be future household names in the genre of doom? Or, will they break up and be forgotten, except by fanatical doomheads? Time will tell, friends. But if you are total doomheads you give the music a spin and you will be surprised by the seriousness of purpose by this unsigned band.
Speaking for myself, I have listened to this band many, many times in order to try to find out if the music clicks with me. They have solid songwriting, and work out well the melancholic-depressive parts of their sound, often through keyboards. It does require a patient ear and it is not particularly melodic, although it is catchy in some places. The result? I think I do understand the sound quite a bit better now that I have heard the songs lots of times. I would not hesitate to recommend the band to those who are obsessed with death doom, especially the more modern, melancholic doom.
After thinking about it a bit, I think the guitar chugs a tad too much, it relies too much on the play-on riff, the riff that is heavy and is metal and all that, but that does not stand out, it does not grab this listener's attention. If I had to pinpoint one area of improvement to focus on, it would be to reduce the chugging parts, and increase the guitar "spices": tremolo; solos; melancholy; fast chords; slow melodies; and other such things; explore more soloing; question whether a riff has something else besides the heaviness, which I like, but I also would like more personality in the guitar.
I also hope that next time the drum sound is not so plastic and flat. It does sound like a computer. It would be lovely if the band would have a more metal sound on the drums, more like real drums.
I hope that, dear reader, you are not getting the wrong impression. Forlorn Path is serious doom. I happen to like a whole lot of doom. If you do love melancholic death doom, I have to tell you: this is definitely a band to hear and one that you should support. They are still young and I think they will do great doom in the future. They just have to keep going and be brave enough to change things to write memorable, melodic, melancholic yet massively heavy doom. It's not easy to do, but this band will do it.

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