Fifteen minutes ago I just woke from one of the most terrifying nightmares of my life. A pregnant woman dies in the Grier home, her unborn child transferred to my abdomen, and a bloodbath birth like none other. The doctor found nothing odd in the slicing open of a man’s belly and giving birth to a toddler-sized boy. Nor did he find it odd that the newborn looked identical to my actual son. But a sinister air hung over the house as long as that boy remained. Then, one day, he was gone. But gone too was my son. I set out in search for him, knowing full well he was in danger. And as I hauled ass in a stolen pickup truck, every stoplight hindered my quest and every road seemed to stretch on forever. Then a storm appeared, turning the sky a pitch black and extinguishing every light around me. A crack of lightning lit up the black and there he stood: that menacing black-haired boy. Not a smile, not a sound. He just stood there beyond the truck’s hood, staring into my eyes. And then I woke up. Dreams like this always make me wonder about my activities of the previous evening. Was it a movie, a book, or a something I ate that bring on these abominations? After I woke, I discovered my buds still in my ears; having fallen asleep while listening to music. Did Seedna‘s Forlorn bring about this ungodly nightmare? If not this, then what?
Sweden’s Seedna is a captivating brew. Taking cues from bands like Alcest, Cobalt, and Shining, they overlap post-black soundscapes and blend their seams into one smooth surface. But 2016’s Forlorn stands as the band’s most intricate stitch-work to date. Debut Tindalos had some decent moments, but the simplistic atmospheres lacked originality. Post-Tindalos, the band added personnel and some sorely needed inspiration to Sulphur. And Forlorn proves the maturation didn’t stop at the sophomore outing.
Not only does opener “Hourglass” set the album’s mood, its beauty and haunting spoken-word grabs hold of you like a bear trap. But this is only the beginning of the hypnotizing instrumentals that litter the record. Like the opener, “Passage” and “Eternal” provide unique touches to the album’s theme—much like what 1349 did on Demonoir. But Forlorn does it better than Demonoir. Both instrumentals supply clean guitar leads and melodic atmospheres, while the latter even drones on with a Sunn O))) disposition. But closer, “O,” trumps them all. After Forlorn carries you through an hour-long nightmare, “O” closes the album with hopelessness more depressing than death.
These instrumentals do a lot to round out the concept of the album, but the heavier tracks (“Wander,” “Frozen,” and “Abyssus”) are the body. Of the three, “Wander” is the strongest. It’s a dark journey; epic, with just enough originality to keep one’s interest. Over its twenty-two minute length, the listener careens through blackened chaos, chilling soundscapes, post-metal chugs, and eerie Shining-esque dissonance. This wild ride finally reaches its climactic peak toward the end. This climax makes it my most repeated track of the bunch. On the flip side, “Frozen” is the weakest of the three. It provides some aggression and Shining-like moodiness to the surrounding “Passage” and “Eternal,” but it just doesn’t stick like the others. “Abyssus” opens with the pulsing thump set by “Eternal” before it cracks open like a century-old egg. This monster also delivers the most venomous vocal delivery of the disc.
In the end, Forlorn‘s approach is simple, but it has complexity enough to enhance the nightmarish qualities. But what grabbed my attention the most was the vocals and production. The heavier tracks are respectable (DR6-7), but the instrumentals (DR10) truly shine. This allows even the drowned-out bass to share the limelight from time to time. And the guitar harmonics of “Hourglass” ring through crystal clear. The vocals are your typical black metal rasps, but on Forlorn (unlike previous releases) they actually contribute something to the music—rather than act as background noise. If given the proper patience, Forlorn is a captivating work of art. But you’ve been warned. The nightmares are real.
DR: 9 | Format Reviewed: 128 kbps mp3
Label: Transcending Obscurity
Websites: seednametal.bandcamp.com | www.seednaofficial.com | facebook.com/Seednaband
Releases Worldwide: July 15th, 2016