Foscor’s interpretation of Black Metal is lightyears away from the crusty corpsepaint clan but their melancholic approach resonates in a very fulfilling way thanks to its kaleidoscopic array of rich and diverse grooves and contours.
Les Irreals Visions is the fifth album from these creative Catalan craftsmen and their inherent ability to know what works for them oozes forth right from the gentle persuasive opener ‘Instants’.
The tempo is given an adrenaline shot at the start of ‘Ciutat Tragica’ as Foscor start to apply more layers than a trainee make-up artist. Their Barcelona home is renowned for its artistic spark, and not just from Messi and co at the Nou Camp stadium. Some of these innovative juices have clearly permeated the bones of Foscor as evidenced on ‘Ciutat Tragica,’ which steadily develops into an atmospheric piece full of melodic surges.
The third of the eight tracks is ‘Altars’ and at around this point the resemblance to Swedish kings Katatonia starts to take shape. Foscor translates as ‘Darkness’ and despite the softly cushioned melodies laid bare here, there’s no disguising the bleak underbelly that lies at the heart of much of their material.
While singing cleanly in their native tongue makes literal interpretation difficult – ok impossible – for non-Catalan speakers, on a song such as the absorbing ‘Altars’ the agonies and vulnerabilities just seem to seep helplessly through its fingers in the style of US doom titans Pallbearer.
The mood darkens on ‘Encenalls De Mort’. The emotion levels allow Fiar to really showcase his vast vocal style which brings together a muscular strength but one wrapped in a blanket of soft tones. The track veers off towards prog land with some terrific emotive guitar solos pulling at the heartstrings both literally and figuratively.
Foscor’s last album was Those Horrors Wither in 2014 and it was around this time that the Barca boys began to tread a more somnambulant path, straying further from their original black metal roots. The Opeth-like ‘De Marges I Matinades’ is an example of that, despite the occasional rumbling and baring of teeth, with just a few growls allowed to slip through the net.
The album’s title track ‘Les Irreals Visions’ is a sumptuous closer, a grandiose entrance setting the scene for a gently suffocating soundscape that pulls and tugs at your heartstrings while almost surreptitiously forcing you to gulp for air. Emotions suspend above your heads as the guitars deliver a riff rainstorm that fills the air.
Foscor’s fifth full length album has an intellectual earnestness about it. With its at times heavenly harmonies, Les Irreals Visions borders on a homage to Catalonia.