The discovery of a new band is always exciting. Will it be something you’ve heard countless times? An experience that leaves a bad taste in your mouth? Or is it a treat from which you cannot stop consuming? I wanted to take a trip back in time to reminisce about bands/albums that not only introduced me to heavy music, but kept me coming back for more…
From The Archive: Ikuinen Kaamos – The Forlorn
This next band is a bit of a newcomer to my collection, as I only started listening to them about a year and a half ago. I came across them through one of the many music blogs/sites I frequently visit and since my main focus of music at the time was geared towards the more progressive/doom and epic side of things, I was quick to check them out. Formed in 1997 and hailing from Finland, this five-piece outfit play a mix of black, progressive and death metal with lyrical themes revolving around, emotions, agony, nature, life and death. Their 2004 debut album, The Forlorn is quite a dark/epic listen, as it takes you on an emotional journey filled with plenty of ups and downs…
At the time of my introduction to Ikuinen Kaamos (meaning “an eternal polar night”), they already had both their debut and follow up EP, Closure already released. But I decided to check out The Forlorn first, as I figured it would be best to start from the beginning of their musical career. The Forlorn is a concept album, telling the story of a man completely haunted by his past. Having been horrifically depressed about a murder he had committed, it tells of his rise and fall to the point of death. And with a concept like that, you can be rest assured that the 5 lengthy progressive death/doom/black metal songs that make up The Forlorn, are unbelievably powerful in their delivery. Bearing a resemblance to that of Moonsorrow and Opeth, their blend of black metal, deep vocals and rhythms/melodies is handled beautifully and The Forlorn is proof of that.
While the album only contains 5 songs, three of them are well over 12 minutes, while the other two go past the 7 minute mark, so the band took the quality of quantity route… and it pays off. When I spoke of the ups and downs of this album, it’s the way the music is interspersed, having hellishly-blasting metal sections and within that, moments of beautiful acoustic mini-sections that work off one another to add that extra level of emotion. You find yourself experiencing the tide of emotions this guy is dealing with, and that my folks are the key elements of The Forlorn that will enthrall the listener and keep them hooked.
Every song is fairly similar, but it doesn’t hinder the album at all. With the mixes of acoustic interludes, aggressive black metal and refined death metal, no song gets boring, nor repetitive, nor too long. They’re all memorable in their own way, offering moments that will stick in your head. The opening of “Frailty” is a nice instrumental acoustic piece, which sets the mood and it isn’t until we get over the three minute mark that the black metal riffs and blastbeats come in and tear through the melodic tone we were once greeted with. This is what defines the album, moments of tenderness that are soon met with the bleak and cold truth of what is real and what cannot be undone.
The Forlorn also has amazing production, every instrument is clear and crisp, the vocals are brutal and apart of the whole ensemble, never being above nor below the instruments. Nothing gets lost in the mix and that helps a great deal in delivering the overall mood of this album. If you happen to enjoy dark, progressive, death, black and classical styles all in one package, I highly recommend checking this album out, as well as their follow up, Closure. Both are worthy additions to anyones collection. Now sit back and revel in what I feel is the stand out track of the album, and not only because it’s a gnarly tune, but for the emotionally powerful finale…
Ikuinen Kaamos – “Grace”