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Forest of Shadows > Departure > Reviews
Forest of Shadows - Departure

An aural showcase of emotional manipulation... - 97%

Cool_Z, March 5th, 2009

Fortunately or unfortunately, there's not much to say about this album - there are so few flaws that it's hard to write a substantial review. Niclas Frohagen, the mastermind of Forest of Shadows, shows on obvious knack for understanding the composition of music and how to use it to best manipulate the listener's emotions in a way he desires. This album is masterfully formed.

Each song is structured very intelligently. The instrumental fragments of a song weave in and out, carefully building on top of one another and subtly adding twists to the emotive direction of the piece. The guitar melodies are nice, the bass serves the basic purpose of outlining the chords and emphasizing a straight rhythm. The drums are really nice - a drum machine, maybe, but I think it is very fitting for the album. Frohagen knows what manner of drumwork serves best at any given time. The keyboards are a subtle but essential factor in the album - they serve to properly texture each song and add so significantly to the emotion that the song would be extremely bare otherwise. The use of keyboards really is perfect, and one of the nicest parts is the fade-in piano chords in Sleeping Death.

Frohagen's voice isn't really anything special, but it is very fitting in the context, and has a droning quality which helps to envelope it in the music rather than make it too much of a lead (which would be disruptive to the mood if you ask me). He has a nice growl, and quite an emotive one at that, which is low and powerful, but sometimes he breaks it so that a little of his voice comes through, creating a twisted, sorrowful sound.

Unfortunately, Sleeping Death is better than the mid-three songs, which is slightly damaging. It's not much of a problem when the quality is so high though. Only minor points off for the track order (I feel Sleeping Death being at the start of the album slightly lessens the impact of the rest of the album - until Departure, the amazing closing track). Niclas Frohagen is obviously a greatly inspired musician, and this is a pretty flawless release if you want good, dark, doom.

PS. Listen in dark with headphones, eyes closed, preferably in bed or something, for best experience. :) Maybe the case with most music, but especially something like this.

Well it's not THAT bad - 80%

WilliamAcerfeltd, September 26th, 2007

I first heard of Forest of Shadows two years ago (2005) and saw that it received glowing reviews (check it out at, which was the metal site I used then). Anyway, I lamented not being able to find this because I wanted to listen to such a "good" piece of musical work. After a lot of trouble I was able to find it. I've had this CD for a while now (about 2 months) and finally got around to playing it last night.

The album contains 5 songs, which average around 12 minutes each. The album is a lot like an Opeth album. It contains long songs, clean vocals, death metal vocals and heavy and soft parts. However, it doesn't sound like anything Opeth has released, probably the closet thing to it would be Morningrise. However, if you're a fan of Opeth, you will no doubt like this.

Despite what the reviewer below me states, in my opinion the vocals are excellent for the most part. Like Åkerfeldt, he has decent clean vocals and very good death metal vocals. However, he uses his clean vocals more than his death metal voice. This album probably consists of about 60% clean vocals and 40% death metal vocals.

The songs are usually pretty interesting. True, there are some boring parts. For instance Sleeping Death has a very long boring, simple intro but when it gets going its a pretty aggressive, good song. Usually, the feelings you get from the songs are despair, anger and also peace at some points.

The lyrics are usually very well written, take these for example:

"and so i followed and arrived
at the shore of a silent lake
where i behold a starlit silhouette
of somehow familiar features
it was her, my love and life
staring into the night
and awaiting my advent

i called out her name
and she unfolded her funeral face
with eyes of radiant sorrow
that pierced my blissful stare "

In my opinion, those are excellent lyrics, despite the cheesy love theme which is something I'm not a big fan of.

Overall this album is pretty good. If you like Opeth and the like, then I suggest you get this. It doesn't deserve all the hate, nor the undying praise it receives but all in all, it is a solid piece of metal.

Conclusion: The above is recommended for download or purchase.

Lack of inspiration doesn't equate good Doom. - 8%

grimdoom, September 8th, 2007

After hearing the amazing ‘Where Dreams Turn to Dust’, one would expect its follow up to be just as spellbinding and beautiful. What we want and what we get, however, aren’t always the same.

The production on this album is pretty good, typical of a Firedoom (now Firebox) records release. The instruments all sound good; the only problems are the songs and the vocals. Other than that, there really isn’t a lot to say about this album other than its BORING!!!

The vocals are passable when clean (although heavily accented), the Death vox on the other hand sound too forced and dry. The music is incredibly simplistic and repetitive, the drums are apparently programmed. It’s hard to believe that this album could be more boring that it is. This album sounds beyond uninspired and dull.

There is a slight industrial feel to the music due to the drums. The music is layered but the way the songs were written only causes them to drag on further. This is a very stripped down recording.

In short, ‘Where Dreams Turn to Dust’ is an excellent piece of atmospheric Doomdeath Metal recommended to all. ‘Departure’ is one of the worst excuses for Doom Metal/Metal in general that any one man could have created.

Painfully Boring - 34%

PaganWinter_44, July 11th, 2007

Forest of Shadows is one of the many doom metal bands that have been recommended to me. I am not a big doom metal fan, and the reason for that is albums like this. Departure is all the things that I've heard people say. It is sorrowful. It is melancholic. It is also dreadfully boring.

The whole album starts off with the song Sleeping Death. This song is appropriately named because it nearly put me to sleep. About 8 minutes of the song is nothing but the monotonous keyboard chords, quarter note drum kick, quarter note bass plucks, and emotionless vocals. Just as I'm drifting off into a dream, the song finally kicks it into something more metal. It's still slow, it's still depressing, and the vocals went from dull to death. This is a nice change, but it goes on forever and ever. So you trade eight minutes of one unchanging tune for another eight minutes of the same thing. November Dream starts out better with a nice guitar melody, but the drums and bass are still playing the same thing throughout the entire ten minutes. Halfway through the song, just like the previous song, it kicks in with a more driving riff, but it still goes on and on. Even though this song is repetitive as hell, it at least manages not to put the listener to sleep.

There's a nice little interlude, which is basically the good parts of the first two songs without all the comatose vocals. Open Wound, which is the only song that's worth a damn on here, comes in after the chorus. I personally think this song should've been the closing song, seeing as how it has the most emotion out of the entire album. This song I have no problem with. Then comes Departure. This song starts out very, very weakly. Its 14 minutes of basically the same thing, as with almost the whole album. The only good thing about this song is the ending piano piece.

Musically, this album is very talented. The guitars do not drone and buzz like in most doom. They simply play distorted riffs that do not overpower. The occasional acoustic guitars are very well used. The drums and bass are dreadfully dull. They play the same tune depending on the song. There's no variation to it at all. They're just used to keep beat, that's it. The vocals, when they're not death metal vocals, are so painfully monotonous. There's no emotion, there's no feeling, there's just someone speaking slowing into the microphone. When they finally do their death metal vocals, they're a lot better, but you'll only get to experience them if you grit your teeth and bear the dullness of the first half of almost all the songs.

My final verdict: download this album. It's not worth the money you'd spend on it. Don't even download the whole album. All you'd have to do is download one song, and you'll know how the rest of the album is. If you're an avid fan of this kind of doom metal, then you may like it. However, I find this to be one of the most boring albums I've ever listened to.