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Prolific multi-instrumentalist Austin Krueger returns in the guise of his one-man metal act Suicide Forest with a 9th release in 5 years all the way from Tucson, Arizona.
Not as interesting as previous work but still exquisitely produced, recorded, and engineered, what Krueger is able to accomplish on his own is impressive. The standout element, other than the studio work, are the vocals, which are consistently scolding whilst being measured and articulate. The music, however, seems like a backdrop for the vocals alone, as they offer nothing new and plod along for most of the album.
First track As the Light Fades Part I is a whole 7 and half minutes, with no climax, build/release, call-and-respond, no intricate orchestration or playing, and therefore nothing special, but if slow-paced black metal is your thing then look no further. The second track starts with a nice arpeggio, atmospheric and pleasant, but lasts far too long (2 minutes and 24 seconds, to be precise) before workmanlike drum thudding and scratchy riffs take over. Independently, the instruments do nothing of interest, so as a collective they offer nothing other than filler music from a generic black metal album. This goes on till the 9 and a half minutes, where we close out with the same arpeggios we were greeted with for another 2 minutes. An attempt at bleakness just leaves the listener weary instead and sounds like a timid effort at sounding like something NONE would produce.
Third track Reluctantly offers the same result whether you listen actively or passively skip through it, other than more droning black metal basslines, generic synths, scratchy guitars, unoriginal drumming. Moody instrumental Remorse is very nicely done, but again, an attempt at atmosphere just means slow arpeggios over a rumbling bass, which requires no thought or musicianship whatsoever. It’s the kind of 4.5 minutes that a composer would donate to a film’s score for a scene where the moody protagonist goes for a drive at night through the city on his lonesome but isn’t the kind of 4.5 minutes you should have in a 5-track EP to show off your talents as a musician. Trembling in Emptiness begins with 3 minutes of synth, which is even far too much for synth-based music, before the usual drumming and guitar work takes centre stage.
Through luck or hard work we may see a winning release from Suicide Forest in time to come, and if Krueger’s work rate so far is anything to go by, it won’t be long before we stop talking about potential and talk about music to celebrate.
Release date: March 26th, 2021
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