Forever Autumn – Hail The Dark Forest

Band: Forever Autumn
Title: Hail The Dark Forest
Label: Independent
Release date: 03 September 2021
Country: USA
Format reviewed: High-Quality Digital Recording

Forever Autumn is a mix of doomy, acoustic, blackened folk, with searing vocals of raw, witchy, black metal. Her voice and I am referring to Autumn Ni Dubhghaill’s lead vocals, is a pain-filled wail, carrying darkness and torment. She has a lot to express in her vocals, and on this newest album, “Hail The Dark Forest” the listener gets to hear her range and darkness, expressed in the arrangements of the tracks, and the overall doomy atmosphere invoked in the music. Get ready to walk into a haunted, gloomy, misty forest of shadows with vocals and music to keep you company on this obsidian journey of alone and without family. “Forever Autumn” will take you there.

On this newest creation, a three-track recording, “Hail the Dark Forest” due out in September of this year, Autumn, the lead vocal, had assistance from Jon McGrath on cello and Aaron Stainthorpe as additional vocals. Autumn recorded and played the guitar, bass, and bodhran (which is Irish, for “drum”) for the balance of the EP (I’m calling it an EP) it may be classed as an album.

I would say off the top, that this a mood listening. If darkness and feeling low hit you in the feels, than this is one place to sink down deep and let your emotions roll and crest as waves.

Prior to this album, Forever Autumn had beginnings in 2000, with three demos recorded in 2001 and 2002. Between that last demo and 2014, brings a full-length album “Patience of om Fire-Keeper”, followed by “Waiting for Oktober MMXVI” (2016), and in 2019 “Howls in the Forest of Dusk” another full-length album.

Let’s have a look at the three tracks I mentioned…

“Listless Pacings of the Haunt”, starts off in unrelenting, nearly monotone sound of guitars, oppressive, and weighty. Autumn’s vocal comes in with a melding of black metal raw notes and a witchy, maniacal-sounding growl. Her screams are echoey, lending more of a feeling of foreboding. The guitar rhythm changes in the mid-point of the track, slowing and heavy riffs to soon pick up speed and energies to follow along with the mood of the song.

“Amoung the Roots” is the second track, with a beautiful forlorn guitar, and more of the heavy darkened guitar riffs. Song continues to more of the doomy depressive mood but beautifully expressed. Autumn’s last whispered vocal at the end of the song, “here among the roots” is eerie and haunting.

The third and last track is “The Firmament of Absence”, which takes the atmospheric edge, with accompanying guitar and bodhran. It lets you float amongst black waters in the depth of one wondering if staying afloat is something needed. I speak to the overall mood of the music if darkness lets you breathe and question. This is amazingly desolate. Following this a spoken piece, very effective and fitting. Guitars change tempo again, gaining more rhythm to picking of guitar strings on their own. The mood of heavy, deep sadness continues with the instruments, and Autumn comes in again with her screamy growls invoking a witch chant. The bodhran hugely presents and gives the music a more organic feel. You can picture her hand on the drum pounding out the sequence.

As I said, this a mood listening, for the doomy tastes, and different take on black metal vocals. As a complete listening, this is very compelling and needs to be heard. Open your parameters and give this a go. I give 7/10 Metal Marie

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