Review from Metal Storm

June 23, 2020
From: Metal Storm
Published: June 15, 2020

Hierophant Violent is the debut album from Forlesen, a trio comprised of individuals with ties to the likes of Lotus Thief, Botanist, Kayo Dot and Maudlin Of The Well. With pedigree like that, it's safe to assume Forlesen may sound quite distinctive; however, Hierophant Violent is less weird than one might expect.

Containing two tracks that form roughly equal halves of the album, Hierophant Violent falls a tad short of 40 minutes in length, so isn't as extensive as some drone/ambient records can be. Nevertheless, there's no great rush to get things going here. The first few minutes see sparse noise gradually condense into increasingly musical forms, particularly when the sci-fi synths join the fray around the 5-minute mark. However, the first third of "Following Light" features nothing more structured than the gradual layering of ambient synths, and even beyond this point, as noisy distortion, random guitar chords and percussion are introduced, it's not until effectively halfway into the song that anything that might be recognized as a clear structure and rhythm takes shape.

When we do finally have a regular drum beat, it's simple and languid; fear not, there's no great change in tone just because you can now count the tempo. This tone is further maintained by the vocals from Bezaelith, who manages to carry over the alluring, haunting vibe she delivered on Lotus Thief's Oresteia earlier this year, but in a more spacious, drifting manner. Nevertheless, in contrast to the achingly slow progression of the first half of the song, the back stretch of "Following Light" has far more purpose, building and transforming on a timeline measured in seconds rather than minutes as Bezaelith and Ascalaphus duet over increasingly intensifying percussion and guitar arrangements. Others better versed in this sphere of music may be able to deliver more useful references, but I got vibes of Nadja (particularly Queller) and Wolvennest amongst others in the latter minutes of this opening track. It's a slow burner, but a rewarding one, building and building and building without ever quite reaching an explosive climax before it suddenly begins to decay in a sweeping wave of noise.

After committing its first half to an achingly gradual doomy drone track, Hierophant Violent brings a couple of new elements into play during its second track, "Nightbridge". Not right away, of course; got plenty of muted ambience to get through first. However, the layered acapella of Bezaelith acts as a nice springboard for the band's heavier sensibilities to eventually be set loose, first as rather grandiose symphonic doom and later as a burst of black metal. It is during this former stretch of slow, sustained riffs, overlapping vocal harmonies and delicate layering that the record begins to truly shine, particularly when a surprisingly evocative guitar solo is introduced into the fray. My only potential issue concerns how connected it feels to the material it is sandwiched between on "Nightbridge"; the muted blast beat transition from the doom to the atmospheric black conclusion to the record feels slightly like "well, we need to do something to join these parts", rather than a natural bridge, whilst the initial preamble that comprises the opening third of the track feels somewhat unnecessary. Still, these are minor quibbles, and the main sections of this track are compelling when they do arrive; the mid-tempo march of the black metal riffs and accompanying shrieks deliver an intense conclusion to an otherwise sedate experience.

An interesting first outing for this trio, Hierophant Violent is a fairly accessible ambient/drone offering, particularly as the songs becoming increasingly structured as they progress. Personally, I didn't find the more ambient stretches as entrancing as some other similar artists, nor the metal parts as gripping, and there was scope for taking the record into more unusual territory to make it perhaps more unique. Nevertheless, it manages to remain engaging for much of its runtime, and could serve as a solid foothold for the trio to push onwards from into stranger territories on subsequent efforts.

Rating: 7/10
Reviewed by: musclassica

Review from Metal Temple

June 1, 2020
From: Metal Temple
Published: May 28, 2020 

There’s an old saying on many countries that where Portuguese is spoken: “there’s more than a way to skin a cat”, and on Metal, it means that two (or more) different bands can play a same Metal genres, but sounding completely different. Think about the differences between DARKTHRONE and ABRUPTUM as a fine example. The first plays in a raw and traditional form, and the other uses different elements to create the same darkened and m...

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Review from The Sleeping Shaman

May 19, 2020
From: The Sleeping Shaman
Published: May 18, 2020 

Well this is a weird little entity, Hierophant Violent by Forlesen, this is not just a switch on and turn up the volume kinda deal, this is a ritual. This is a lights off, eyes closed, laying horizonal, and empty your thoughts kind of affair. If I said this was unlike anything I’ve heard before I wouldn’t be lying, it’s completely its own thing, and if you like the thought of being taken away sonically, even without the use o...

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Review from Aristocrazia Webzine

May 19, 2020
From: Aristocrazia Webzine
Published: May 16, 2020 

I Forlesen sono un gruppo nato da tre musicisti già appartenenti ad alcune realtà molto apprezzate su Aristocrazia, quali Lotus Thief, Botanist e Kayo Dot. Partendo da questo presupposto, le aspettative erano molto alte e l’album di debutto Hierophant Violent non le delude affatto.

Le due tracce che compongono l’opera si espandono tanto in durata — circa diciotto minuti ciascuna — quanto in termini musicali, inglobando el...

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Review from Hellfire Magazine

May 15, 2020
From: Hellfire Magazine
Published: May 13, 2020

Den Preis für das hübscheste Cover des Jahres 2020 dürften FORLESEN bereits sicher haben. Doch wie hört sich die Band an, welche Musik macht sie?

Das waren eins zu eins meine Gedanken, als mich ein Freund auf das Cover hingewiesen hatte. Für mich war es direkt ein klarer Fall: Diese Band wird gehört. Wer seine Musik in ein so wunderschönes Cover verpackt, hat nicht weniger verdient. Und eh ich mich versah, trudelte HIEROPHANT VI...

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Review from Dissecting the Euphony

May 9, 2020
From: Dissecting the Euphony
Published: May 8, 2020

Forlesen merupakan band Psychedelic Doom Metal dari Bay Area, AS. Hierophant Violent adalah terbitan pertama mereka yang dikeluarkan oleh Hypnotic Dirge Records pada 18 April 2020.
Walaupun Forlesen sebagai formasi band adalah baru tetapi line-up mereka terdiri daripada pemuzik berpengalaman dan established seperti daripada Kayo Dot, Botanist dan Maudlin the Well. Jadi anda boleh expect terbitan ini sebagai well made dan bukan sepa...

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Review from Valley of Steel

May 9, 2020
From: Valley of Steel
Published: May 8, 2020

Well, seems like it’s about time to check in on what’s happening with our northern neighbors at Hypnotic Dirge. Here’s a new record they came out with within the past month — and if their history of quality releases wasn’t enough to recommend checking it out, surely that gorgeous artwork (produced by Benjamin A. Vierling) will draw you right in.

It turns out Hierophant Violent is the debut offering from a new ensemble from the S...

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Review from The Sound Not The Word

May 1, 2020
From: The Sound Not The Word
Published: April 30, 2020

Given that it contains members of Lotus Thief, Kayo Dot, Botanist, and TSNTW favourites Palace of Worms, there’s high hopes for Hierophant Violent, the debut album from Forlesen. Such background means that expectations for a challenging, adventurous listen are probably fair, and Hierophant Violent meets them in superb style. Consisting of two lengthy tracks (each is almost twenty minutes long), the album is not afraid to take...

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Review from Machine Music

May 1, 2020
From: Machine Music
Published: April 25, 2020

 I guess this is going to be one of those chill, atmospheric posts, huh? Anyhow, another wonderful proggy post-whatever release comes from Forlesen, a collective comprised of accomplished musicians such as: drummer Sam Gutterman, who played on Kayo Dot's masterpiece Choirs of the Eye, Balan of Palace of Worms and, of course, formerly of Botanist; and Alex Lindo of Botanist and Nero Order. A lot of creative firepower, in other words, one...

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Review from Invisible Oranges

April 22, 2020
From: Infernal Masquerade Magazine
Published: April 21, 2020

One of the very few advantages of the COVID-19 pandemic is that we can now work from home and listen to music non-stop. As one of the more interesting releases to creep into our inbox, today we have Forlesen and their two song, 36 minute release “Hierophant Violent”. Featuring members of Lotus Thief, Kayo Dot, Botanist, Maudlin of the Well this band creates a transcendental musical experience with a very powerful and ...

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 Released: April 18, 2020
Genre: Ambient / Doom / Black Metal