As we continue forward with our exhilarating marathon of black metal reviews, this next one comes from another independent and somewhat fresh act straight out of Seattle, Washington. Forest of Grey is an ambient/melodic black metal project consisting of four primary members that's been active for roughly around a decade or so now and focuses on themes related to nature and esoteric concepts. And, while not a lot is known about these northwest US metallers, their debut full length is here now...so let's talk about it.
Released very early on in 2018, Crypsis by Forest of Grey serves as a potential concept album that is also a follow-up to the band's previously released demo back in the day. It comprises a roughly 30 minute composition made up of merely two actual songs, surprisingly so. This doom-like divison is justified by the tracks' sprawling transitions and progressions, and is, for the most part, an instrumental effort. The album is available in digipack CD format on Bandcamp.
I. The first half of Crypsis starts out with some clean acoustic riffing and striking chords for a longwinded introduction to a slow-burn type of release. Then...all of a sudden...the rest of the instrumentals begin to slowly fade in one by one. The foreboding siren-esque shrieks in the background, the mystical and serenading sound of the strings, and the slowly paced percussions build up a decent wall of sound. Several minutes later, the distortion finally takes form and those crunchy, yet doomy guitar chords lead the pack. The vocals come in about halfway into this song; though, they take a backseat in comparison to the rest of what's going on. As mentioned before, this album blends black metal with doom metal pacing and prog-like transitions and tempo changes at times, with everything being nicely produced and toned throughout. Towards the end, the vocals drop out and listeners are treated with a nicely mixed in and extended guitar solo. The song then speeds up to a tremolo crescendo akin to an orchestra of destruction and melody.
II. Once again, this one starts out with some clean guitar picking that swiftly mixes in with some distortional feedback. Out of nowhere, the guitar distortion comes in and goes into tremolo riffing madness combined with blast beat drumming and some incoherent vocals that creep into the mix. Though, the high-pitched vocals are a bit more prominent in this track, since the song takes a break from the madness briefly for some bass/vocal dual destruction. I won't spoil too much of the rest, but it's a treat indeed if you're a fanatic of the ambient and the melodic.
To sum up, Crypsis is slightly more melodic and slowly paced than your average black metal album. It's somewhat progressive in its undertoned elements, as well as heavily instrumental in its overall execution and mixture of various sounds. Not too heavy, not too light...makes for just the right amount of balance for those who enjoy atmospheric content, yet, at the same time, an equally strong contender in terms of the modern day 'kvlt' era.
Fave Track: Overall, I enjoyed the first track more due to its strong and attentive introduction and guitar solo
Pros: Interesting guitar riffs and general instrumental progression; competent mix/master; solid song structure throughout
Cons: Vocals not too engaging in first track; slowly paced sometimes
**This album is available now here!**
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-Review by: Dave Raffy
Musician, reviewer, fan & promoter
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