Imagine yourself, five years ago. Some friend or other, not too close but that guy with the weird musical recommendations and ideas, walks up to you and says: “you need what you need in life? You need a mix of Dream Theater‘s Kevin Moore-era synths and Insomnium‘s melodeath on one album”. Personally, this writer would laugh in this friend’s face; I assume you’d do the same. But yet, here we stand, reviewing Foredoomed‘s Ordeal and that’s exactly what this is. The base formula, the foundation on which all else rests, is well made melodic death metal in the style of Insomnium, with the trademark flair on the riffs, the Iron Maiden influenced bass and the evocative vocals. But onto this another layer is added, made up of fantastically rich synths which throw back to neoclassical prog, Dream Theater’s Awake and other references known for their cheesy yet satisfying synth tone.
So, does this somewhat left-field and ambitious debut pull it off? Yes and no. When the album works, it work really well; the synths blend beautifully with the rest of the instrumentation, adding a level we never knew we needed to the sound. The already epic vibe of melodeath is well augmented by this garnish. It’s when the band are willing to also depart from the gimmicks of both progressive metal and melodeath that the album really shines; on tracks like “Dualism”, the band are able to inject interesting vocal ideas into the melodeath formula, making things much more enjoyable. This also characterizes the opening tracks, especially “Undawning”. The Insomnium influences are still very much audible but they’re supported by interesting passages and ideas.
Unfortunately, Ordeal is still very much a debut album and thus, suffers from the issues that often plague such a release. First off, that departure from the gimmick doesn’t happen often enough, leading to a middle part of the album which sort of blends together. Yes, the synths are still there and their novelty is maintained but the rest of the foundation on which they rely is too same-y, resulting in several tracks which get lost in the overall runtime. A similar problem infects the album closer to the end, before the admittedly excellent (and fifteen minute) self titled closer. Secondly, the production on the album is fine but very much leans towards the melodeath side of the spectrum. This, combined with the loudness inherent in this kind of use for the synths, leaves the whole mix somewhat unbalanced, with no clear focus or center.
With these issues in mind, and viewing Ordeal is a first voyage, we would still heartily recommend you listen to it. It represents an innovative approach to both its main genres, creating a whole that, while still requiring some polish, works very well on the emotional level. Something about the two sounds just clicks, leading us to believe that there’s a bright future in store for this band. If Foredoomed can further refine their ideas and change some flaws in their composition, they could be on the verge of something great. Who knew that 2017 would bring such an unexpected matc up to us? Certainly not us but we welcome it; Ordeal could be a cornerstone for something great.
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