The Foreshadowing Seven Heads Ten Horns 2016Imagine, if you will, a world torn asunder by racial and cultural intolerance. Entire countries are erased, and many religions are shunned, their followers persecuted or worse. Now picture, if you can, a united Europe acting as a new Babylon, a holy ground for those seeking shelter from the bitter storms of prejudice and hate, and bustling with diversity, all while impending doom is just looming over the amber horizon. Such a lofty world is given life on Seven Heads Ten Horns, the fourth album by Italian gothic doom sextet, The Foreshadowing.

We start off with a beautiful, lush instrumental in “Ishtar.” Bells, mandolins, and melodic hums all gel together to entice the listener into a majestic, magical world full of mystique and awe. The drumming by new drummer Giuseppe Orlando (ex-Novembre) intensifies, as if something horrible is afoot. That aforementioned something would be the following track, “Fall of Heroes.” Okay, “horrible” is a strong word, so we can replace that with “pedestrian,” “lackadaisical,” and “middling,” because all the promise built up from the preceding track is dashed by simplistic riffing, occasionally interesting drumming, and an amazing lack of what we call a “hook.” And then we have vocalist Marco Benevento, who could be best described as a cross between a bored Dave Gahan (Depeche Mode) and a post-nap Mikael Stanne (Dark Tranquillity). His voice, while not technically bad, is so out-of-place on here that it’s distracting, and instead of elevating the music to levels of merely tolerable, they enhance the snooze factor to outrageous levels.

This wouldn’t be such a problem if “Fall of Heroes” wasn’t one of the stronger tracks on here, but yet there’s seven more songs and another 47 minutes on here that don’t quite measure up. “Two Horizons” begins with promise, reminding me of Funeral‘s amazing From These Wounds before Benevento starts yawning his way through the song. “17,” a story about a woman riding a beast with seven heads and ten horns, actually made me yearn for another song of almost the same name, featuring a young Kip Winger pirouetting with a bass guitar. But it’s the completely unnecessary, overly indulgent 14-minute closer “Nimrod” that condemns Seven Heads Ten Horns to eternal damnation. Overwrought vocal passages, build-ups with absolutely no pay-off, riffs that meander off to nowhere, and the sheer audacity that this song is fourteen fucking minutes long is just a big old pile of NO in my book.

The Foreshadowing Band 2016
Mixed and mastered by the Wieslawski brothers in Hertz Studio in Poland, Seven Heads Ten Horns is as professional-sounding as it gets. There’s a beautiful sheen to the keyboards, the guitars don’t bite too hard, and Benevento is front-and-center. This would be all fine and dandy if the music could match, but this is the prettiest-sounding middle-of-the-road album I’ve ever heard in my entire life. As a doom fan, this should be right up my alley, but after spending a week with this, none of it engages or sinks its fangs into me. It’s a beautiful painting you can’t touch, or a picturesque landscape you’re not allowed to step foot on. It’s just “there.”

And “there” is not a good place for a band on their fourth album with a history stretching back over a decade. The Foreshadowing need to engage the listener with better hooks, better vocals, better everything if they want to make a dent and be known as something better than a suitable replacement for melatonin. As it is, this is incredibly frustrating. At least the cover’s pretty.


Rating: 1.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Cyclone Empire
Websites: facebook.com/theforeshadowing
Release Dates: EU: 2016.04.15 | NA: 04.29.2016

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  • tomasjacobi

    So I wonder if we’ll also get a video with the members of the band reading the review aloud for this one…

    • Soge

      This has happened before?

      • Oh yes. The Glorious Rebellion posted a video of themselves reading our review of them and hilarity ensued.

  • André Snyde Lopes

    At least the cover looks pretty? It looks like every other Seth Siro Anton cover ever.

    • Grymm

      Pretty much.

  • Monsterth Goatom

    Ahhh, man, not “Ishtar”. Now you made me think of the movie, and I feel icky all over.

  • pafg

    Such exaggeration…. it almost feels like you hate the band before even listening to the music. It isn’t their best effort (in true, it’s their worst), but… 1,5? There’s a lot in the record that makes it worth much more than that. Of course not to your ears, but to people who are into Tiamat, Moonspell and alike.

    • Grymm

      As someone who’s also into Tiamat, Moonspell and the like, this did nothing for me. And I gave this quite a few listens over the time span of a week.

      It’s not engaging.

  • Maximos662

    As someone who digs Moonspell… is it possible to lower expectations far enough to find something, anything, in this? Anything at all? Or should I just not waste, say, 15-20 minutes listening to cuts of this, trying to find them?

    • Grymm

      Like I said earlier, I was searching for things to click with, and came up empty.

  • Pimpolho

    Awww shucks, i really liked their last album :

    • Tom Hardy

      Give this one a shot, you never know with different perspectives and different tastes that might lead you to enjoy this more or less or just as much as than the reviewer’s experience was mate. Chin up …

      • Pimpolho

        You’re right. I really like the embedded track, and i have no problems with the vocals. I think i’m going to like this one. :D

    • Borreh

      This album certainly doesn’t deserve a 1.5/5. If anything, 3 at worst. Lots of people are digging it so just listen to it yourself and see if you like it or not. I think it’s very solid.

  • Blueberry Balls

    Yawn. Im getting bored too.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Holy shit Grymm, you just described the world as it is today in that opening paragraph…

  • Bart the Repairman

    Killer vocals. They pretty much kill the music.

    • AlphaBetaFoxface

      Genius.

    • Shangsean

      They do and I would also say that to my ears, they are technically bad. I think it’s more a case of a poor vocal performance than the vocals not fitting the style. He sounds really flat and to make it worse, the vocals sound as if they’re sitting on top of the music rather than being a part of it.

  • I loved their first record, after that I kind of lost interest. The embedded is good, though.

    • Days of Nothing is indeed amazing! Laced with strong melodies and a somewhat progressive touch to the structures.
      I’ve listened to this album a few times now. It sounds nice this far, but the hooks haven’t sunk in yet, or they lack the barbs to stay attached. A bit frictionless to the ear, running smoothly out the other. Like sipping to good tasting wine that has no aftertaste. I’m not ready to utter a distinct opinion quite yet, though.
      1.5 points still sounds fairly grim by brother Grymm. :)

  • Feytalist

    “a beautiful painting you can’t touch”

    Wait… you touch paintings? :O

    Shame about the album, I’ve been feeling for some nice gothic metal recently.

  • ASTHX

    “a suitable replacement for melatonin” LOL!

  • Tofu muncher

    “a bored Dave Gahan (Depeche Mode) and a post-nap Mikael Stanne (Dark Tranquillity)”–good one lol

  • [not a Dr]

    It sounds like the backing vocals were pushed to the front, and the main vocal track was dropped out of the mix.
    This could be a karaoke release: it’s the listener’s job to croon, growl, screech, scream, howl or even rap over it.

    • Grymm

      I approve of beatboxing over this.

  • Tom Hardy

    Those vocals actually sound pretty good in the embedded track. What do you think of the vocals on Discouraged Ones @[email protected]:disqus?

    • Grymm

      I love Jonas’ voice, but Discouraged Ones is not a strong album of his vocal-wise. He’s since become one of my favorite vocalists.

  • Wilhelm

    I’m not going to pretend that this is the best gothic doom I’ve ever heard, but it’s certainly not the worst and I actually like the bored David Gahn vocals – perhaps some death vocals would have been welcome, and of course “better” production choices.

  • Vittorio

    This album is simply outstanding. It will be surely in my 2016 Top Album List.

  • Borreh

    Ugh, what? This is a really good album, the guys’ vocals are one of the stronger things about the band (And he certainly doesn’t sound “bored”), and it ain’t even just me, because I saw many very positive reviews of the album.

    If anything’s wrong with this album is the garage-like production and another pretentous, boring and tasteless Seth Siro Anton-made garbage posing as an artwork.

  • El Lado Oscuro

    This record runs for worst of the year, awful

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    Looks like we have a contender for the most controversial AMG review for 2016!

  • Simona Rongione

    I deeply disagree with this review and the score; in my “humble” opinion this albums stands already as one of the best 2016 releases and, by the way, Marco Benevento’s voice matches the album sound perfectly and “enhances” its mood perfectly…