Forest of Shadows - Among the Dormant Watchers
Inverse Records
Doom Metal
7 songs (66' 7")
Release year: 2018
Forest of Shadows, Inverse Records
Reviewed by Andy

Where Dreams Turn to Dust put one-man project Forest of Shadows on the map, and it's still a release that's arguably never been equalled by the band since. But Niclas Frohagen is still producing albums, and he's never lost his touch when it comes to downtempo anthems of sorrow. Among the Dormant Watchers is beautiful and emotional doom, so introspective that it never bothers to even look up from the pool of tears it's shedding.

Part of the emotion comes out of Frohagen's clean vocals, which exude a sort of dull hopelessness to the backing of the inspired but repetitive guitar riffing; when they don't, he sings through some sort of effects mechanism that dulls it even more. Since Departure, which was a little too slow for some, he's picked up the pace; like its predecessor, the album keeps the songs moving along. While Self Inflicted Torment and Drowned by Guilt both take a page from the band's debut and feature sad little melodies that loop back upon themselves, Dogs of Chernobyl takes more of a direct approach by following a solid, regular beat and harsh vocals. It's about grief too, but it doesn't wallow in it quite as slowly; it's more of a brisk swim.

Overall, the album is not easy to listen to for very long, at least for me. Make no mistake: Frohagen's done very well here and captured the sadness a lot of doom styles can produce, with barely a hint of the bombast that makes it both more ridiculous and more fun to listen to. But I'm not so sure that's a good thing. For one thing, Frohagen's natural inclination is to take it slow and repeat himself, something that is fully in evidence on the final track, Yours to Devour. For another, the unending gloominess of Among the Dormant Watchers eventually stops being cathartic and leads merely to impatience; even Pallbearer albums, which aren't at all happy, have a grandiosity to them mixed in with all the sorrowing. Among the Dormant Watchers is very good at what it does, but it overstays its welcome a bit, and perhaps would be best in small doses.

Killing Songs :
Self Inflicted Torment, Dogs of Chernobyl
Andy quoted 79 / 100
Other albums by Forest of Shadows that we have reviewed:
Forest of Shadows - Departure reviewed by Nathanael and quoted 70 / 100
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