Endless Desperation Productions (2015)
With a sound and style that harks back to the formative days of death-doom metal, Black Forest were once known as the Russian version of My Dying Bride. Callow youths when this album was first recorded back in 2000, there is plenty of muscle, menace and misery to be found within their dramatic and melodic music.
‘Sadness’ is a marriage of melancholic pianos, weeping violins, wailing guitars and low growls in the grand tradition of British masters such as Anathema and MDB. Poor production quality on the original recording led to delays, until a reworked version that the band was happier with was finally released. Though numerous imperfections remained, the album was very well received in the local Russian market.
Black Forest then split up, with some members preferring to switch to the more popular death metal style, and the band’s huge potential was never fully realised. A decade and a half later, Endless Desperation Productions have brought Black Forest back from the dead with a nicely remastered version of the album.
‘Sadness’ is in places a flawed masterpiece, not only tapping into the black vein that began in the UK in the late 1980s but also adding their own sour and shuddering woe to the mix. A few clumsy moments aside, this is an elegant, fluent, well-paced procession of gloom, truly classic death-doom with plenty of unique touches. There area few awkward trip-ups, but nothing as cheesy as some of the stuff that My Dying Bride themselves have served up over the years.
Powerful tracks such as ‘Disappearing Pain’ have a timeless strength and energy rippling through their doomed verses. The production remains far from ideal, but it’s probably nothing you can’t live with. ‘Sadness’ may not have come out exactly as the band had originally intended, but Black Forest can look back on a mighty doom metal achievement with pride.