Forgotten Woods - _Race of Cain_
(Aeternitas Tenebrarum Music Foundation, 2007)
by: Nikola Shahpazov (7 out of 10)
To say that Forgotten Woods are old-school is to understate what they are all about. Although a project that never made it to the tabloids or to the main stage at Wacken, during the last decade these Norwegians have managed to make a name for themselves in the underground. Like many other bands of the notorious No Colours roster, Forgotten Woods were always lurking in the shadows, releasing a good deal of badly produced demos and EPs both as Forgotten Woods and as their alternative rock alter ego Joyless.

Pompous as it might sound, _Race of Cain_ is indeed their return, for the last proper studio full-length _The Curse of Mankind_ was recorded way back in 1996. And right from the start, you know what they have been up to all these years -- inventing ways to make their black metal as ugly and necro as (in)humanly possible. There is a definite rock 'n' roll vibe in most of the tracks, while the approach to the music and the virtual lack of production is punkish and raw as in the glory days of _Under a Funeral Moon_. The great thing is that unlike many other raw black metal projects, Forgotten Woods rarely rely solely on speed but add tempo breaks and devilish grooves instead, making the whole garage affair tolerable and even enjoyable. And still, besides an occasional melody, melancholic instrumental pieces ("Here, in the Obsession") and even solemn female vocals ("The Principle and the Whip"), _Race of Cain_ never loses its edge and remains primitive above all.

The finale "Third Eye (New Creature)" is one of the most awkward black metal pieces you're likely to encounter these days. Starting with the same simple, half The Exploited, half Motörhead guitar riff and a "Sieg Heil" chorus, after a mere four minutes, the track continues with a recorded discussion about Christianity and Social Darwinism, only to end with some more minutes of full-on-metal. Misanthropic and anti-religious collages dominate the booklet of this lavishly designed CD, adding more food for thought and even more bizarre suggestions that somehow befit the general strangeness of Forgotten Woods.


(article published 21/11/2007)

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