Review from Toilet Ov Hell

September 18, 2020
From: Toilet Ov Hell
Published: September 16, 2020

There’s something about sadness.

My recent fondness for Wills Dissolve both lessened my aversion to albums consisting of long songs and had me bumbling around on the Hypnotic Dirge Bandcamp page. There I came across Forlesen‘s debut. Released all the way back in April, the album cover did seem to ring a bell, but I hadn’t checked it out yet, perhaps due to the format. Two tracks instead of just one, but both clocking in at around 20 minutes. Unwieldy, for sure. Nonetheless, now hardened by Echoes, I listened. Then I listened again. Then I immediately bought it and, during a third listen, embarked on the rambling review you’re about to read (or not). This spontaneity is pretty uncommon, and I hope it speaks to how taken I am with this record that it made me bypass my usually agonizing workflow.

While I initially thought that the slew of tags on the album’s BC page was a generic batch that every release on the label gets, I soon noticed that the “drone doom” tag doesn’t appear on all the records. And that’s where we begin: a low, ambient drone, from which the first song “Following Light” slowly, ever so slowly, builds. The press text mentions that the record was created at a time of immense loss, and that’s what I imagine this starting point to be; a moment where the almost proverbial “I don’t know what to say” as a reaction to a sad occurrence has become very literal. Can any artistic expression—any utterance—be made in the face of all-encompassing grief? The song doesn’t seem to know and has to feel this out. Softly, it extends feelers into the droning emptiness. Minimal sounds, a smattering of vocals. And as the drone responds like dry earth to rain, synths begin to take hold, and the energy softly increases as we find that yes, something can be said, and something needs to be said, even if the search for a more acute vocabulary takes up almost half the song. Analog instruments and more discernible vocals only begin to appear after the synths have prismatically broken the silence into a kaleidoscope. Tentatively, but seemingly emboldened by the options just discovered, they begin to speak of their grief, unfolding into soft, melodic doom, continually building up confidence even as the initial drone threatens to drown it.

After all that, second song “Nightbridge” doesn’t need to start at absolute zero; knowing the potential of what can grow from the void, it begins to throw a bit more into it. The void magnifies the meager input tenfold as a sudden angry, incessant banging causes the formerly half-whispered, half-muttered vocals to shriek in despair. If we refer to the stages of grief for a moment, we might find that it’s high time for anger, and clearly, there is something angry just outside the door that wants to be dealt with. But the song is not beholden to the program of Grief Counseling 101, so for now, that anger is quelled in favour of a slow vent of energy that somewhat resembles Flesh of the Stars‘ brand of doom. Before long, however, it’s back with a vengeance and cuts through the music with an incredibly stark burst of black metal. Righteous and necessary as it feels, the energy cannot be maintained for long, but even as the music resumes the minimal doom riffing, the outpour continues in the vocals, albeit in a fashion resembling an absolute breakdown, until words fail once again and a heart-wrenching guitar solo takes control of draining the emotional reservoir. The song’s closing moments are tired to the bone, utterly spent by what it worked through. Has closure been achieved? It doesn’t feel like it, but perhaps that is too much to ask anyway. The hole left by whatever loss inspired this record can probably not be filled in 40 minutes. Perhaps it can’t be filled at all. Perhaps life needs to re-arrange around it. Perhaps we will see Forlesen continue to try to build something from nothing.

Reviewed by: Hans

Review from V-M Underground

September 7, 2020
From: V-M Underground
Published: September 7, 2020

This is different and for someone surely difficult to swallow. Forlesen present their debut two track debut album and even though there are just two tracks this record has a duration of about 40 minutes.

The two tracks roughly cut the album in half. As far as the genre is concerned, Forlesen is labelled as experimental avant-garde Black Metal. But are they a second Ulver? I don‘t think so. Different bands in the same genre can pla...

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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,...

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