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Black Forest : Sadness (Remaster)

Black Forest's only demo is an unheralded musical gem from the year 2000, truly deserving this reissue at last.

Black Forest sound very oldschool. A 15-year old recording, once a demo self-recorded and released some 15 or 16 years ago, has been re-issued by Endless Desperation Productions, a Russian label releasing a Russian band's supposedly 'legendary' recording or something along these lines. After listening to 'Sadness', it is easier to understand why an effort has been invested in releasing that unripe, obscure demo of a band no one has even heard about, in a more - let's say - respectable manner, giving this unique recording a proper medium and decent exposure, allowing 'Sadness' to become readily available by everyone.

'Sadness' truly deserves such treatment, because this is one magnificent album, and one that truly bears a unique voice. 'Sadness' is first and foremost a vehicle of sadness; the tunes are exquisitely haunting and depressing, the atmosphere rather bleak. The music on 'Sadness' has a romantic quality to it only without the cheese. The fluff and theatrics have been reduced to the very basic elements that define a romantic Doom/Death metal recording: some female voices, a violin of sorts, plodding and melodic yet unsophisticated song writing, et cetera.

Yet 'Sadness' offers a whole world of broken hearts in its singular delivery; the music sounds epic without trying to sound epic; it's in the bone-marrow of the compositions, this epic-ness stuff. The music sounds almost indifferent, cold and apathetic, as if a bleeding heart suddenly became stone-cold, lifeless. And indeed, 'Sadness' is lifeless, lifeless yet exquisite. Like a love poem for the deceased, the presiding sentiment is that of Necrophilia, literally: the love for the dead ones, that futile, futile love; a love having a source without having a sink...

Black Forest are the unsung heroes of the Doom/Death realm. Out of the deep underground comes this lavish, original, thoughtful, Folk-ish recording mirroring the band's shining talent to create beautiful, twisted, raw, powerful and menacing moments of utter wonder - and up until now this excellent recording has remained a fucking demo??? Unbelievable.

By far better than Saturnus, Avernus and all the other bands whose name ends with the 'Us' suffix, who play romantic doom/death that's mostly dull and utterly uninspired; who use the very same production values leading to them sounding uncannily alike. Not this time, friends; 'Sadness' is unique. The production is raw and stripped-down to the essentials; nevertheless, the instruments sound sharp and alive yet somehow unearthly, or 'subterranean' in nature. The guitar's clinical tone and those typical 'tremolo grooves' belong to the Death Metal spectrum of the old and the primitive and in general, the winds of oldschool-ism blow firmly from the direction of this album's every passing moment.

Death Metal inclinations did we say? Sure, but this album contains so much more; from the extremely sad and dispiriting ballad-like moments containing those long, weeping guitar leads; to the semi-Gothic parts reminiscing those of 'Irreligious'-era Moonspell (sans the deep clean, baritone-like vocals), to the rare yet exquisitely pulverizing death metal barrages; you'd encounter in between those, the mentioning of early Eighties post-punk aesthetics, as well as the neoclassical, what with the gorgeous violin tunes embedded into the very bones and soul of that very album. It's all there, packed ingeniously into this recording, like a musical DNA helix packed and folded in its chromosome. 'Eclecticism of aesthetics' is just a meaningless sentence until one listens and appreciates how this theory has become reality in its most glorious phase: the meeting place for love, death, art, beauty and bestiality.

Black Forest's 'Sadness' is an unheralded musical gem; a hidden masterpiece being only now rediscovered and hence, greatly appreciated.

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Reviewer's rating: 9/10


Tracklist :
1. Revival
2. Sadness
3. The Stronghold
4. Disappearing Pain
5. From Mist To Oblivion
6. Melancholy (Longing For The Stars)
7. Subterranean Realm

Duration : Approx. 66 minutes

Visit the Black Forest bandpage.

Reviewed on 2016-04-16 by Chaim Drishner
Thermal Mass
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