Forest Stream - _Tears of Mortal Solitude_
(Earache / Elitist, 2003)
by: Pedro Azevedo (8 out of 10)
When you have an album title such as _Tears of Mortal Solitude_ you are bound to generate certain expectations, so either your music is going to be seriously miserable or -I- will be seriously unhappy. Fortunately Forest Stream have plenty of miserable sounding riffs and vocals, and above all the music remains sombre and majestic throughout -- so I'm quite happy with that. These Russians are all about a solemn blend of doom and black metal, and clearly have a soft spot for generally well incorporated symphonic touches. Katatonia circa the immortal _Dance of December Souls_ clearly played a major part in influencing Forest Stream, and that's about as promising you can make an influence sound to me -- but these Russians manage to keep their personality intact on _Tears of Mortal Solitude_ rather than coming across as copycats. Amidst the desolate string plucking, emotional lead guitar work and various rasped and growled vocal approaches, there is more symphonic black metal than on _Dance of December Souls_. The pace is more often slow than anywhere near fast, however, and while the feeling of the music remains mostly sorrowful, it is not quite as extreme as Katatonia's early classic.

_Tears of Mortal Solitude_ weighs in at over one hour, with several tracks around the eight to ten minute mark; easy chorus-based structures are not something you will find here. Although the album only really picks up with the twelve minute "Last Season Purity" and the ten minute "Snowfall" (which follow a somewhat upbeat opening track), the quality of FS's music speaks for itself as far as justifying how a Russian band gets their debut released through an Earache sub-label. Given time, they seem likely to produce a follow-up of even greater quality, which is definitely something to look forward to. Overall, though some of the synth work still needs a bit of polishing, Forest Stream have crafted an impressive debut album that should put a broad smile (figuratively speaking, of course!) on the face of most doom metal fanatics -- especially those that also happen to like a bit of black metal.


(article published 14/10/2003)

7/4/2009 J Smit 5 Forest Stream - The Crown of Winter
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