Taking inspiration from their native Catalonia and from the morbid, decadent, and sick reflections on a rapidly changing society, Foscor – Catalan for “Darkness” – play a dark progressive metal that shares features with the depressive European heavyweights of Katatonia, Solstafir, and Lantlos. Les Irreals Visions is the band’s fifth full-length and a considerable shift away from their early black-metal sound to a depressive progressive metal that tastefully merges elements of black metal and doom. Like Lantlos with Azure Chimes, Foscor have switched to a clean vocal approach, a switch that has been a resounding success. With Les Irreals Visions, Foscor traffic in a rich mixture of melancholy, beauty and anger, intensified by the poetic melodicism of their native tongue and their merging of heaviness and frailty.

Opener “Instants” is an instant whirlwind experience as fluttering high-pitched riffs, expressive and complex drumming, and dreamy vocals weave and rise like steam from an ancient spa. There is a beautifully rich wash of guitar sounds that soar and echo throughout the album, anchored by thumping double-bass drumming and quick-fire tapping, creating both a sense of soothing melancholy and biting aggression. This is the common theme throughout: a contrast of feelings. The vocals are performed by fallen angels and the instrumentation their chariot. Vocalist Fiar’s ultra-melodic, hook-laden, and soaring tone is itself an instrument. They are Foscor’s most unique and powerful tool. Drenched in reverb, rising and rising and rising some more, they convey everything that needs to be conveyed: passion and melancholy. Accompanying this is a crisp and clear production with the muscular bass performing terse acrobatics to significant effect. “Altars” consists of fluttery guitars that twang and whistle, supported by the exploratory nature of the bass, moving higher up the octaves and singing with the splendor of a lead guitar. Foscor’s wistful tenderness, spinning and attaching itself to blasting intensity, is a feature that’s instantly recognizable in recent Katatonia. It’s nothing drastically innovative, but it’s presented in an impassioned and vibrant enough manner to feel fresh.

There’s a lot of darkness and riff-based moodiness to add to the lofty melancholy. “Encenalls de Mort” consists of crunching mid-paced riffs that cascades, mid-way, into a glorious solo. My problem is that it rides a gentle wave, failing to rouse much. It suffers from being too Katatonia­-lite, unable to recreate the otherworldly feelings of other songs on the album.  “Espectres al Cau,” though, carries an urgency as riffs clash and jostle for space and drums surge. “De Marges i Matinades,” too, explodes into life from the first second, shimmering like a chainsaw made of flame. The impact of these riffs is intensified by the careful construction of songs. “Espectres” only works because the spurts of aggression are wrapped in interludes and lulls that raise the heaviness to impressive heights. Similarly, “De Marges” uses its lulls not to compartmentalize the heavy sections, but to provide the roots to feed these moments of angry release.

As the album progresses it grows in heaviness, with “Espectres al Cau” and “De Marges i Matinades” – sparingly utilizing growls and traditional second wave riffing – being placed one after the other at the back-end of the album. However, the most dreamlike and ethereal track ends the album. Closer “Les Irreals Visions” sounds like a flock of birds escaping an electrical storm. Airy mid-paced tremolo riffing meanders at a dreamy pace as shimmering electronics and impassioned vocals circle and drift. This dream-like atmosphere resonates at many points throughout the album, though most strongly explored here. The ethereal “Ciutat Tragica,” for example, ends with lofty piano patterns filtered through reverb and warmed by light vocal melodies. These tender lulls and breaks in the heavy, Katatonia-esque melancholy provide a dreamy pillow to rest against the nightmares of the other sections.

Les Irreals Visions is so close to being a great album. The two-song slump in the middle detracts from the energy of the opening and final tracks. With “Altars” and “Encenalls De Mort” omitted the album would flow excellently, shifting from lightness to darkness to an ethereal and lofty end. Aided by a clear and powerful production, Foscor’s diverse sound spreads its melancholic tendrils with forceful freedom. Their shift away from second-wave black metal has worked a treat and this ‘dark’ progressive tone is a treat for the ears and heart.


Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Season of Mist
Websitesfoscor.bandcamp.com| facebook.com/foscor.official
Releases Worldwide: June 9th, 2017

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  • JohnC

    I dig it. I like music in languages other than English and it has a unique sound.

    • sir_c

      This.. exactly this.

  • Drew Music

    Damn it damn it damn it, I’m trying to listen to more upbeat or driven material now that the weather doesn’t suck but I’m pretty sure you just sent me down the great, cold path to a Katatonia binge.

    • Zach Ward

      I’ve recently been spamming a fuck ton of The Mars Volta. Idk their reputation among everyone here but ya know, upbeat prob rock if ya want some. New releases tho…. nothing I can think of…

      • Drew Music

        I’m kind of meh on TMV, but A for effort, it’s still appreciated. Upbeat may have been a bit of a misnomer, anyway, I just meant I was trying to veer away from black metal for a moment. In the spirit of not keeping secrets of unpopular opinions, my typical go-to ‘upbeat’ material tends to be Coheed & Cambria, some specific djent bands, grunge, and 80’s-90’s country.

        • Name’s Dalton

          Try Rob Crow’s most recent album.

        • GardensTale

          Have you tried the new Voyager? I find it quite uplifting

          • Drew Music

            Oooh, didn’t know there was such a thing, I’ll get right on that!

        • I got sucked in by unleash the archers.

          • Aidan Riess

            Same

      • sir_c

        Night Flight Orchestra? Not a lot of metal maybe, but it doesn’t get much catchier than this

    • HeavyMetalHamster

      I never stray too far from the dark comfort of Katatonia.
      My ipod is full of Night Flight Orchestra, Unleash The Archers, Voyager, Cult of Luna and Katatonia right now.
      It creates mood swings in me no medication can tame.
      Fun times.

    • herrschobel

      i listen to Napalm Death to feel happy and calm :-)

  • RDP

    This definitely helps lessen the disappointment I had with the new Les Discrets album. This is really reminiscent of older Les Discrets.

    • Akerblogger

      I had that exact thought, too! Definitely fills the hole they created.

  • Oscar Albretsen

    Is a review of the new Anathema in the works (just curious)?

    • HeavyMetalHamster

      It’s a grower…..not as immediate as Satellites.
      Not sure if I like it or not……
      But I always set the bar pretty high for Anathema.

      • Heldarc

        For me it is second disappointment this year after Suffocation…Zero ability to invoke any kind of feeling except sleeping in me..

    • DIMENSIONAL BLEEDTHROUGH

      I’m not digging the new Anathema at all, unfortunately.

      • Drew Music

        Seems to be the general consensus, which sucks cuz Internal Landscapes is one of my favorite songs of all time and I keep hoping they’ll give us another Weather Systems.

        • Malcolm in the Middle X

          I’m having a difficult time getting into the new Anathema album as well. I think Ulver’s latest (The Assassination of Julius Caesar) more than makes up for any disappointment this year. If any of you dig Ulver (& Depeche Mode?!), check it out if you haven’t already.

    • Wilhelm

      Save the effort. Two word review; fucking awful

      • For what they’re trying for I suppose it works. However, it’s very low energy, and at times it’s pretty damn dull.

        • Oscar Albretsen

          That was the impression I kinda had. The song I heard sounded decent, but also had the sense of being something that wouldn’t hold interest for long at all.

    • Unlikely. I was thinking of reviewing it, but it’s not even remotely metal and pretty much an ill fit for the site at this point.

      • DIMENSIONAL BLEEDTHROUGH

        “Not even remotely metal” was my gut reaction too.

      • HeavyMetalHamster

        Neither was Darkher….40 Watt Sun…..
        The metal spectrum is as wide as the autistic spectrum.
        I still consider Anathema to fall under the far right.

        • Those bands are way closer than Anathema is at this point. I just don’t see them as relevant to metal anymore. Opinions differ, but I don’t feel the need to take the time to review it personally.

          • Thatguy

            It must be that time of the month again. We agree.

      • HeavyMetalHamster

        How about an Okilly Dokilly review? ; )

      • sir_c

        Maybe a new category: Bands That Used To Be Metal?

      • euthanatos

        I get where you’re coming from, but when I listen to a song like “Springfield” from the Optimist and compare it to the new Les Discrets, they don’t really sound that different instrumentally. Dare I say Anathema sounds even heavier. But yeah, it’s subjective, I guess.

  • a glass o’ milk

    I’m really digging this!

  • Michael Saurette

    thats a nice cargo pant ratio

    • Name’s Dalton

      I truly love the t that we have people who read this blog who comment on things like that.

      • [not a Dr]

        We even have people with Band Photometers that will judge music they didn’t hear based on stuff like this.

        • herrschobel

          totally….4 different types of cargo pants in one single band ? i am not going to like this !

        • sir_c

          Indeed, wonder what score they have, those four fishermen with pantsos asbestos

    • herrschobel

      that is not a ratio anymore but a total cargo victory :-)

  • Thatguy

    Nice review and music worth checking out. I made today’s smart-arse comment in reply to SD so nothing but cheerful words here.

    • GardensTale

      Who are you and what have you done to Thatguy? I know he doesn’t have a limit on smart-arse comments.

      • Thatguy

        Ha.

        I was busy this morning!

  • Frost15

    I knew this album was gonna get this exact score! haha, I’m diggin it too btw.

  • Mollusc

    Your review paints such an evocative picture I almost don’t want to listen to the album in case it spoils how I imagine it might sound.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      That’s likely the best compliment for a review EVER!

      • Mollusc

        And I was worried it might come across as a back-handed compliment. Maybe I should temper it somehow.

    • herrschobel

      get a room you two !

      • Mollusc

        Hey, I’m married! Although I could be persuaded to partake in some gentle frottage.

        • herrschobel

          interesting use of the word ‘frottage’

          • Mollusc

            …in the cottage

          • What’s the Vegas line on “Frottage in the Cottage” appearing on the next Korpiklaani album?

          • Mollusc

            And what if they get the idea from here… and it’s my fault…?

        • Akerblogger

          My avatar is already engaging in self-inflicted frottage.

          • Mollusc

            Grrrrr.

            Ahem.
            PS did quite enjoy the album, thanks.

  • Wes Allen

    The solid DR rating makes up for the butt crack on the cover. Will spin.

    • [not a Dr]

      Spin… the butt crack?

      • Wes Allen

        It appears so!

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Katatonia + Catalonia = Katalonia?

  • GardensTale

    Embedded track sounds great!

  • AlphaBetaFoxface

    why have a clicky kick drum when you can have a kick that sounds like THIS

    damn that is tasty, looking forward to running through the whole record, fantastic review

    • GardensTale

      Well said, AfkdjnbgfdwoubvweBmaweufhoieuhfFkjsandfbeubg.

      • AlphaBetaFoxface

        thanks, git

      • [not a Dr]

        You’re not even trying anymore!

        • GardensTale

          Sure I am, but instead of creative effort it’s now the physical effort of smashing my face into the keyboard.

  • rumour_control

    When words seal the deal:
    “…sounds like a flock of birds escaping an electrical storm…”

  • [not a Dr]

    My head hurts. When I look at the song titles, my brain doesn’t know if
    it’s reading Spanish or French. It is an effort of every moment to
    remember that it is Catalan: neither and both.
    But the music is awesome.

  • First of all, I want to join Mollusc in his compliments for the beautifully written and really informative review. Very vivid descriptions in the second paragraph, bravo.
    You mention ‘Lantlos’ together with Katatonia and Solstafir (which I listen to very often), and I see this name for the first time, so… would you recommend one of their albums more than the other ones, as a starting point?

    • Akerblogger

      Thanks Mr. Repairman. If you’re looking for a sort-of similar sound to recent Katatonia, definitely the most recent Lantlos album: Melting Sun. It’s perhaps not hugely similar, but I think it shares the emotional depth, lush melodies, and immersive atmospheres. It has touches of post-rock and shoegaze alongside soaring vocals and crushingly heavy passages.

      Another album is Agape. It leans a lot more towards depressive black-metal/post-black. Slow and steady build-ups making way for explosions of noise. Contrast between loud and quiet very important etc. Probably the closest to early Solstafir.

      Neon. is decent if you’re after stuff that sounds like Deafheaven before they were a thing.

      • Thank you, I appreciate the response and look forward to check this band out, definitely in order you’ve proposed.

        P.S. no need for ‘Mr’ – I’m probably on the younger side of this comment section. I still can’t get used to it (being called that way) and it makes me feel olde every time:) Maybe I have to change my pic for something less serious.

  • AnnieK13

    Really like the embedded track…going to listen to this whole album later today. Thanks for the review – this one is interesting.