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Love, loss and pain - 100%

vk66, January 2nd, 2015
Written based on this version: 2009, CD, Firedoom Music

Can you imagine a soulful death/doom album? An album with an absolute sense of loss as if there's nothing else left to look forward to but a true sense of pain entwined in the coldness of a Swedish winter? Imagine the gloomy skies, the terrible snow, the coldness seeping in through your breath, in the cracks of your hands now weak and fragile due to the absolute devastation of your senses just by being human? Can you imagine that? The emotional despair of being in such a frame of mind, unable to comprehend why or how but just closing your eyes trying to introspect but end with no answers, each and every single time. That exactly is what the EP is all about. Where Dreams Turn to Dust is an overlooked doom/death masterpiece and must be one of the best kept Swedish secrets. This is pristine melodic doom/death and must be one of the best EP's of the genre. When was the last time you've heard of an absolutely emotional record in this genre of music? One can throw in Swallow The Sun's work as a point of comparison, yes, it will stand up to what Forest of Shadows offers on this release but where any material will fall short in comparison is the songwriting department.

The EP opens with Eternal Autumn, as the quiet enchanting flute solo wraps your senses, Niclas Frohagen's vocals kick in tattooing the pain of his voice on you, these are possibly one of the best and consistent vocals I've heard in this genre of music. The vocals truly represent the disappointment and immense pain of the lyrics, neither are these the best ones every written nor is there a significant literary value but what the lyrics succeed in doing is expressing the sadness at it's best and cohesively puts the agitation of a soul immersed in loss and lost in memories, example below -

Amidst withering leaves
I had found my beloved
Bloodstained and pale
Falling into the forever
So silent.

Aware of my presence
She turned towards me
Her agonizing stare,
one last breath and she whispered: Everything dies.

Another aspect of this album that is most impressive are the vocals, when Niclas is singing the 3rd line from the above paragraph you actually notice the agony translating from the words and it being passed on. This is all across the album and makes for an absolute treat to the senses, you seldom see vocalists translating the written emotion through their vocals while the guitars support them with the most beautiful and consistent riffs. If one dissects Eternal Autumn, you'd probably count the riffs on your fingers but how well they've been arranged and built together with the drumming on this album is everything. The atmosphere as such engulfs you for every single moment; considering the shortest song on the album is 8:20 long, the band absolutely holds your attention every single second of every song and in all honesty leaves you begging for more. The tone of the guitars is an important aspect of this release, as much as the distorted sections sound in perfect harmony with the vocals creating the atmosphere, the clean parts are the most beautiful which truly add the gloom to the sadness. Slow, melodic and hurting.

My favourite track of this EP is Of Sorrow Blue, as this is the band at it's melodic best. This song truly represents what Forest of Shadows is all about, most delicate acoustic parts adorn the passage between verses as the vocals disturb your notion of calm. The guitars are gentle and heavy, transcending slowly through the thick atmosphere which clears up to a beautiful violin solo. These transitions are done to perfection: imagine a glimmer of sunshine on a snowy day, the hope it brings, the momentary satisfaction it fills us with and leaves as quickly as it touched us pushing us back into the same abyss of never ending darkness. This is exactly what the band does to perfection. The depth in the vocals push what these songs sound to the next level, there's not an aorta of joy or hope, it's an outright descent into darkness and doubt. The sound on Swallow The Sun's The Morning Never Came album is the closest I can think of as a comparison,. Take that sound, slow it down in places, add the loneliness of a winter to it and drench it all in the pain of longing and we have this EP, an absolute masterpiece and a jewel amongst releases in this genre.

Excellent - 98%

Sharkbait, May 12th, 2008

It isn't very often when an album hits me emotionally. Forest of Shadows does this very well in this EP. They aren't a generic doom metal band, I feel. This EP has some foreign sounds for the genre. Acoustic guitars are often added, same with other instruments (such as a flute in the song Eternal Autumn). These other instruments mix beautifully. Each song is very similar, but unique enough to enjoy. The atmosphere created is overwhelming at times. The song Wish got a hold of me the most. From the first second to the last, you are in a new world. A very beautiful, but sad, song. By the end of it, I am in tears almost every time.

The guitar is very good. It is very nicely written. Same goes for all of the other instruments. I absolutely love the vocals. He has a very nice voice that matches perfectly with this kind of music. The sound quality is good. The lyrics are nicely written, they're very poetic. Wish is the best song on this EP. Here's a sample of the closing lyrics; the highlight of the song:

"...Still I dream, but now I know,
I dream a lie, so I close my eyes and I sigh,
A life of shattered dreams, I can no longer bear,
I enter thee eternal sleep."

The only bad thing about this album is that it can get boring near the middle of the last song. All three songs are fairly slow, which can make the listener feel like it's dragging on. Since it is slow, it is very relaxing.

They definably stand out among other doom metal bands. This EP is my favorite recording out of the genre. I highly recommend this one.

WOW! - 100%

grimdoom, May 3rd, 2008

Spell binding and sheer brilliance are the only ways to describe this EP. The atmosphere of this album is nothing short of awe inspiring. The music hits you with a wall of hopelessness and beauty that you simply can't tear yourself away from. This is by far one of the absolute BEST Doomdeath Metal releases of all time.

For starters, the production is ok but could have been better; but the three songs contained within don't suffer for it. The guitars are thick and moody. There is very little if any crunch in their sound; however, they do have some good mournful leads. The bass is more or less buried in the mix except for when it’s in an intro/outro or quieter moment in any of the songs.

The drums are bombastic, in an artsy way. The keyboards only add to the dense atmosphere created by the guitars. There is a flute and violin used to very good effect as well. The vocals are both clean and grim. The cleans are heavily accented and have some reverb/delay on them. The grim vocals fit the music perfectly and sound as though they have some reverb on them as well.

Over all, the only true drawback is that this is just and EP instead of a full album. The originality and passion displayed on these three songs is breath taking. It’s a shame that its follow up was so lackluster. This is highly recommended to all!

Forest of Shadows - Where Dreams Turn to Dust - 99%

Unsilent_Storms, October 10th, 2006

Every now and then in ones lifetime, one is presented with things that touch you so deep inside, for better or for worse, your life is changed forever. In a world so automated and predictable, listening to this 3 song ep by Forest of Shadows took me away from the daily task of life into a world all of my own, where I experienced music that brought me close to tears.

In this ode to love, and having it taken away, the quality of both the music and the production are top notch. Where to start? How to describe this music that has me so enthralled and yearning for so much more! The music is so hauntingly beautiful, weaving in between acoustic guitar passages with clean vocals to deep growling vocals accompanied of electric guitar riffs that seem more like violins crying.

“Where Dreams turn to Dust”, consists of 3 songs, the shortest clocking in at 8:22, one could thing this is a bad thing, when done in a cheesy predictable way a song this length could seem like an eternity, but when done with such class and beauty, it is not nearly enough.

The first track is “Eternal Autumn”, as soon as it starts with its medieval flute intro, so hauntingly perfect, you almost feel like you are on top of the tower of a Castle hundreds of years ago, gazing away into a never ending forest, this is interrupted by a sudden lament, a love story told in 2 different voices, a clean one and a demonic growl which tells us the story of a women dying in her lovers arms to great effect, you can certainly feel the distress and agony of this man as his beloved dies in hi arms.

Where Dreams Turn to Dust, closes out with 2 other very long songs, “Wish” and “Of Sorrow Blue” which is a whopping 11 minutes and 30 seconds long, and all I can think of as the last song fades into silence is I want more! It’s not enough!

If I had to compare this band to other bands for comparisons sake it would be October Tide, Katatonia, early Opeth and early Anathema. The majesty of Forest of Shadows though is precisely that. This work can stand proud next to the before mentioned giants music wise, concept wise and lyrics wise, it is well crafted melancholic doom metal that should be in every doom fanatics collection!

An astounding effort from an overlooked band - 97%

Xeper, May 31st, 2003

From the very opening, the ambient folky melodies had me convinced I'd bought the right album, and boy was I right. We have here 3 songs (which nevertheless clock in at EP length, little under half an hour) which bleed with emotion, talent, and songwriting. Instead of riding the same slow riff like a lot of doom bands for minutes on end and moaning monotonously, these guys throw in tons of sad and heavy riffs that would make October Tide proud, while layering on top of them gorgeous melodic leads, whether they be electric or done on acoustic guitars. They have those soaring leads which, although not overly complex, pick just the right notes so that the guitar practically weeps, something I've only heard bands like Katatonia do (not that they sound overly similar, per se, they both just have that exquisitely tasteful note selection in the guitar department that so few bands can really nail). But unlike newer Katatonia, these guys keep it heavy while still morose. The singer does some clean singing which, although somewhat low, never falls into the category of cartoonish goth singers, while at other times opting for screams/growls where they best complement the songs, so plenty of versatility there. The drum sound left me feeling like a dumbass, because I'm a drummer and when I first put the cd on I immediately liked how the drums were perfectly audible but not in the least overproduced, great balance between bass and snare, slightly soft snare tone fit the music perfectly, and so on, until I read that it was actually a drum machine, and I was even more impressed because you seriously can't tell just by listening. So don't be afraid of some cheap-sounding Casio crap, none of that here. The minimal use of keyboards and violins(only once or twice) are almost unnoticeable but succeed in adding atmosphere without approaching the typical overbearing melodrama that many goth bands suffer from. Brilliant songwriting, while the songs may be long they're never too long, they're well-written so that no minute is wasted, they're not long for the sake of being long, they just happen to be songs that take time to unfold without being pretentious and "oh look we're so epic" like some other bands I won't name. Fantastic release here, well worth your money if you're looking for a unique doom metal band with just enough melody to not sound bland, and perfectly balanced songwriting to match.