Many are the occasions on which we’ve had reason to remark on the strange state of doom metal. The genre has become a tent wider than a person who have taken to eating far too much for an extended period of time, while also having a rather large frame. The return of 70’s inspired “old-school” doom, stoner rock inflences – not to mention simply rock influences – these and many other developments have made doom a shifitng and inclusive variety indeed. To this reviewer, however, doom was originality (in blatant disregard for historical fact) an offshoot of death and black metal – slower and sadder, but with few to no clean vocals and with a focus on quasi-classical melodies in minor, rather than psychedelic shenanigans and rock stylings.
I, Forlorn, a one-man funeral doom act hearkens to this tradition. Not in any tribute band sense, though. While the very earliest Katatonia, Theatre of Tragedy, Chorus of Ruin and a myriad of other heavy, saddened funeral doom acts can certainly be brought up to give a sense of the direction of this album, it is really its own creature. With comparatively complex song writing, an almost constant wailing of harmonious guitar leads and a diverse array of vocal styles I, Forlorn have found a niche of their own, even while not re-inventing the depressive doom metal genre.
My Kingdom Eclipsed is self-released, but should really have been picked up by a label already. It has eight tracks, with titles far less cliched than could be feared from a band “inspired by the depths of depression and sadness.” Clever and poetic headlines like “Behind the Sun”, “Spiral’s End”, “The Fragile Beast” and “Through Her Eyes” fit the music well, and reinforces the sense that doom sometimes has a sort of artistic edge on some competing extreme metal genres. Like most bands who revel in themes of depression, I, Forlorn will have to live with the fact that his music is really rather relaxing and beautiful rather than depressing, but in the end I suspect he might be able to swallow that bitter pill.
As a final note, while we already mentioned that I, Forlorn utilizes growls and screams, it should be added that he deserves to be lauded for it. While high pitched clean vocals work wonders for Tommy Stewart’s various projects, violently carrying on the heritage of Black Sabbath, funeral doom needs the raspy stuff. It’s just the way it’s gotto be, and it is very heartening to see that certain young people understand that, and don’t bring out the college rock singing or the Curt Kobain sound-a-like vox. Cudos to you, young sir! For that, and for keeping the spirit of melodic funeral doom metal alive in an age with just a tad too many hippies.
The physical edition of My Kingdom Eclipsed is limited to 100 copies. It, or a digital download version, can be bought from the band’s bandcamp.