Review: Forn – Weltschmerz

welt

After Forn released their 2014 offering entitled The Departure of Consciousness, they immediately became the reigning champions of all things slow and heavy in Boston as far as I was concerned.  That’s no easy feat, considering the area’s history and penchant for churning out slabs of world-class stoner/doom/post-metal ala Isis and Old Man Gloom back in the day, alongside more recent additions like Morne and Rozamov and Elder.  

Forn though, is something unique.  Departure successfully melded sections of funeral-paced doom with bursts of slightly more uptempo sludge and flourishes of mournful melody tinged with the occasional spacey/psychedelic undertone in a way that few other bands could hope to accomplish as competently.  Having become well acquainted with that record, there were high expectations for its follow up.

On their upcoming release, aptly titled Weltschmerz – they expand in every possible way on the template of their previous work.  The title is a German word that translates roughly to ‘world-weariness’, but that translation doesn’t really encompass the true meaning.  The term was articulated by its originator as – a feeling born of understanding that reality can never satisfy the demands of the mind.

To that end, the four pieces that comprise the EP describe and deliver this feeling about as fully as any musical expression can aspire to.  The melodic elements of the songs are shot through with a sense of exhaustion, resignation, and melancholy.  They occur against a backdrop of slow, suffocating riffs that bulge and heave with distortion. The vocals further infuse the songs with a sense of hopelessness, and the echoing howls drift forth like screams heard deep inside a cave.  Weltschmerz is divided into two distinct sections and despite being four tracks, it really is essentially just two songs in two movements each- Saudade (parts I & II) and Dolor (parts I & II).  The works are very cohesive, with certain motifs and variations appearing throughout the tracks.  Most notably, the gorgeous, mournful melodic passage that occurs about ¾ of the way through Saudade I comes back in a similar form during Dolor I.  In addition to this, the second movement of each song are simply long, quieter sections in which no vocals are present, incorporating a contemplative dynamic that tempers the harsher and heavier passages.

Songwriting like this indicates a maturity and forethought that was clearly in development during Departure, but has now been fully realized.  Forn have reached for something gloomy and haunting with Weltschmerz, and have also managed to capture something darkly beautiful that sinks in further and further with repeated engagement.  You should be listening to this on repeat as soon as possible.

Rating – 9  I would have given it 10 if the record had been 4 hours long instead of like 25 minutes.

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Forn’s Weltschmerz LP is available now via Gilead Media.  The record can be ordered here – http://www.erodingwinds.com/product/forn-weltschmerz-12/

Digital version available now via https://gileadmedia.bandcamp.com/album/weltschmerz

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