Forming The Void – Reverie Review

Louisiana’s Forming The Void admirably scratched my doom metal itch back in 2018 with their third full-length, Rift. Between the sludgy riffs, the Middle-Eastern-inspired noodling, and the heft of the overall package, Rift was a respectable, enjoyable album. But with all that’s been going on in the world, my lack of free time to even listen to music, let alone review it,1 and finding difficulty in locating simple pleasures like liquid hand soap or toilet paper… let’s just say that I’m itching for some quality doom metal to ease my soul, take my mind off of the shitstorm that is 2020, and otherwise find a whiff of what could be considered “normalcy” these days.

Thankfully, on Reverie, we get that quality doom metal. Whereas their contemporaries have either jumped on the Prog Train to Mastodonia or opt to chase that elusive and incorporeal True American Heavy Metal brass ring, Forming The Void stick to what works for them: heavy riffs and intriguing melodies. Opener “Sage” lurches with intent, with Thomas Colley hammering away on the drums like a no-bullshit steelworker, doing what needs to be done with force and reliability while guitarists James Marshall and Shadi Omar Al Khansa once again lay down the heavy with thick riffs and catchy melodies. It sounds and feels familiar, sure, but when many people are abandoning a tried-and-true sound for loftier passages, it’s a bit of a comfort when a band doesn’t fix what isn’t broke in the first place.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that improvements can’t be made here and there. Marshall sounds a lot more confident vocally this go-around, aiming for the upper range of his voice to better effect than what was hinted at on Rift. When he does return to a lower register, like on “Onward Through the Haze,” it’s more controlled this time. Otherwise, when he does go high, his voice adds a powerful air to the music, especially on album standout “Manifest,” where his voice, combined with the cool opening acoustic melody, heavy riffs, and rock-solid rhythms of Colley and bassist Luke Baker, not to mention incredible leads by Al Khansa, Reverie elevates itself above its predecessor admirably.


There are qualms, though. From a production standpoint, Baker’s bass gets lost more often than I’d like. With music this heavy, you want the bass to have more presence, and other than the aforementioned track, it feels like his performance is buried a bit too often. Also, at 38 minutes, this is a fairly brisk album compounded by the fact that many of the songs could have feasibly gone a minute or two longer, but instead just end after the second chorus. Normally, I’m bombarded with albums that flirt with the sixty-to-seventy minute length range, but while I appreciate the brevity on display here, I enjoyed my time with Reverie so much that I was honestly craving more. If wanting more is a complaint, though, that means Forming The Void are doing it right.

And I wish more bands followed suit. Whereas PallbearerKhemmis, and Crypt Sermon have all (rightfully) earned respect and admiration, it’s criminal that Forming The Void isn’t among that group yet. That could all change with Reverie, though. I’m not asking bands to reinvent the wheel or change what’s been successful. Sometimes, all you need to do is look at your formula, tweak it a bit, and make gradual improvements without losing sight of what made you unique and enjoyable in the first place, and with ReverieForming The Void did just that with aplomb. Great job, gents!

 


Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Ripple Music
Websites: formingthevoid.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/formingthevoid
Releases Worldwide: May 8th, 2020

Show 1 footnote

  1. No lie, since the pandemic started, I’ve more-or-less lived at my day job. Hence, this is my first review in almost two months. Also, hi!
« »