Forever Still – Save Me (EP)
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Label: Self Released
Whenever I open a “rock” promo I always fear that I’m going to either encounter a Nickelback-esque project that somehow decided Metal Blast was their target audience, or just a pop band that considers itself heavy because they added a couple of distorted guitars in their mix (I’m looking at you, Ravage Rose). Forever Still are none of that.
Save Me, the third EP in the band’s catalog, is a remarkable piece of work, because it seems to go out of its way to showcase the band’s versatility. Instead of just finding a comfortable sound and sticking to it, what they have done here is to use these 3 songs to demonstrate the range of sounds and emotions that they are able to convey. This is how, for example, “Awake the Fire” gives off some hints of the kind of melodies you’d expect in a HIM album, while “Breathe In” has some metalcore elements (coupled with Maja Schonning‘s excellent growling), and “Save Me” conveys the kind of melancholy you’d come to expect from a Lacuna Coil album.
For a band that has been compared with Lacuna Coil (just check their song “Scars“, Forever Still were at risk of just coming off as derivative, and so using this EP to showcase their range was a great idea. While this may not be the kind of thing you’ll be moshing to, there’s enough space to headbang. I’m looking forward to what they can do with a full release.
Old Thunder – Slings & Arrows EP
Location: Kentucky, ‘Merica
Since they describe their sound as “Kentucky Doom Metal”, when I hit play on Slings & Arrows I was expecting a southern-fried, sludgy experience, not unlike Down. Instead, surprisingly, what I was a blackened offering more in line with the more aggressive moments from Agalloch. While still squarely a doom metal release, it makes use of a lot of the tools from the more atmospheric, depressive side of black metal, creating a result that I’ve never really heard before.
Dustin Grooms handles everything on the album and does a fantastic job. Everything serves the songs, everything is balanced perfectly, and no single element overshadows another. The only complaints is that during the brief spoken word sections that appear in some songs he sounds as if he lacks conviction. His tone and cadence sound very matter-of-fact, and there’s no emphasis or accentuation placed on any part of these passages. As such, they almost take the listener away from the scenes created by the rest of the music.
If you’re looking for an easily digested music experience that you can take in bite-sized portions at your leisure, Slings & Arrows is not for you. However, if you’re looking for a solemn, atmospheric and soulful doom metal journey, and you have the patience and time to simply allow it to wash over you, then this EP will definitely be worth your time. For those who take their metal with a dash of melancholia, this one comes highly recommended.