Monday, March 20, 2017

Misanthropic Forest - "demo" (2017)

Misanthropic Forest - "demo"

Year: 2017
Genre: Depressive Black Metal
Country: Finland

Tracklist:
  1. Nothing but Whores
  2. Purging Fires of Mars
  3. Before Men There Were Others
  4. Victories over a Time There Was

As long nights close in, and winter's teeth are slowly bared by a snarling autumn, you could easily imagine the raw, visceral howls of this Finnish DSBM project carrying through a darkened forest in the blackest reaches of the night. A harsh, uncompromising paragon of underground black metal spirit, the debut release of Misanthropic Forest is challenging and grim. As part of their demo submission, they sent me a statement, as follows: "political issues are irrelevant in our context. Misanthropic Forest is about hatred towards human life and we refuse to be categorized as red, anarchist or any other politically motivated music." They explained their lyrical themes as being "about nature and misanthropy how humans are destroying world and how this planet will be better place without mankind". 

 The band originally recorded these tracks in 2014, but errors made in drum tracking led them to decide they could do better and that the songs needed reworking, and they hope to have a new album out, including improved renditions of the songs on this demo, within a year. That being said, their spokesperson made it clear they're in no rush, and want to really do the music justice. This demo was released so that the original recording would be available, to not let the session go to waste. They also declined to make their lyrics public at this time, as part of a conscious effort to allow the final album release to define the songs, as they plan to reveal some of the lyrics then.

Musically, the guitar work is fast, ferociously so in places, but carrying undeniable melody. The drumming is hard and aggressive (although I understand why they thought the recording quality let down the songs a little, even on a lo-fi underground release it needs improvement), and the vocals are desperate, lower and rougher than on some black metal releases, more in the vein of Hate Forest than Wolves in the Throne Room. The opening track of the demo, "Nothing but Whores", is tempered with a sorrowful ambiance, less outright harsh and confrontational than the other songs, surprisingly beautiful even in the midst of misanthropic melancholy. "Purging Fires of Mars" steps up the pace, allowing frenetic and aggressive guitars to the fore to build an atmosphere of violence and hatred. 

"Before Men There Were Others" is a harsh continuation of their establishing sound, with fast guitar and blast beats hammering through your ears, which drops off suddenly into the gentler, slower lead-in to "Victories over a Time There Was", which has the feel of "Nothing but Whores" far more than either of the tracks between. For all they are gentler bookends to the middle songs, offering a subtle contrast to the nihilistic ferocity that comes across unbridled elsewhere on the album, they are by no means gentle songs - they carry much of the same depression, rage, and sorrow of the rest of the album, only a little more restrained. Hopefully their full-length will be out before too long, so we can appreciate their music unhampered by technical issues. I'm looking forward to it.

T.G.

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