Review: Forstyrre – Haunted by the Shadows of War (Demo Tape)

Posted: June 13, 2014 in Demo Review, Reviews
Tags: , , , , ,

I spend a lot of time looking for new bands and music on Facebook. I have a tendency to ‘like’ bands then go back and listen to their stuff afterwards. Seems strange, but that way I don’t potentially forget about them. Forstyrre were one of those bands, and I was pleasantly surprised by their track ‘Haunted by the Shadows of War’ from their 2013 demo. Recently they offered up this demo as a limited to 10 cassettes, 7 of which they would give away for free to people who were interested. ‘ME!’ I cried. How can you say no to a free cassette of quality music?

Forstyrre play a largely ambient black metal style. The tape begins with ‘Sturm’, a delicate piano led intro that creeps and stumbles through a menacing rumble. ‘Haunted by the Shadows of War’ is the first proper track, a buzzing crawl amongst darkness and filth. There’s something about slower black metal that I really enjoy; it generally has a much greater sense of menace pervading it. Faster blasting stuff sounds more maniacal, where as this sounds a lot more dangerous. An almost suffocating night emerges from each buzzing riff, each tar soaked growl.

There’s a little note in the tape liner that says that the lyrics were based on true war stories. Clearly these are not the war stories that the movies tell. The title track is followed by ‘Der endlose Leichenzug’, an even slower track that sounds like that horrible dead Japanese girl from ‘The Grudge’. I couldn’t get the image of her creaking and lurching down the stairs when this track was on. Man that creeps me out… This is an exercise in atmosphere, pure and simple.

‘Unit 731’ starts with deliberate acoustic picking, before morphing into a raw, droning black metal odyssey. Croaking vocals emerge from the shroud of darkness that seeps from your speakers. It is remiscient of the haunting and hypnotic feeling you get from classic Burzum records. The outro ‘Hope’ is peppered with gunfire and explosions, once more reinforcing the idea that war, and the horrors it brings, is the inspiration behind this work. More mournful piano and songbirds twittering bring to your mind’s eye a field covered in white crosses and poppies. It’s a perfect ending. The bonus track on this is ‘Das warten auf dem krieg’, another killer track.

Forstyrre’s stuff is all sold out on their Bandcamp, but hopefully they’ll get a full release somewhere in the future so more people can get a hold of this. ‘Haunted by the Shadows of War’ is dark, dense and thoroughly enjoying deathride into hypnotising blackness.

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