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Not a dry eye among the shadows - 65%

autothrall, December 14th, 2010

Eerie and eloquent, Forlis represent an interesting Danish entry into the field of what might consider 'post metal', or 'post doom', but I think the term only applies here from a purely geometric standpoint. If depressive black and doom metal were a pair of ravens taken wing, casting their shadows upon a bleak, decrepit landscape, then Forlis represents the life that wouldn't grow in those shades, the withering of dreams and constant haunting of regrets. The members here are no stranger to experimentation, hailing from the band Sick Room 7 who also breed a hybrid of doom and ambiance, but this is perhaps a little more sparse, the band grasping a motif and riding it to the inevitable, somber conclusion.

The vocals are a mix of hoarse wails and whispers that often manifest into something most resembling black metal, so I feel they might have an audience waiting in that region, in the fan bases of Shining, Lifelover, Nae'blis, and other acts of their ilk, even if the exact composure is here in a more pallid hue. Tissue of Life is an all too interesting title for this album, because Forlis do in fact focus on the epidermal layers surrounding the skeleton of doom metal. You won't find raucous riffing here, or any central nervous system of aggression. All is vapid, light and layered around pianos, synthesizers, flowing bass and guitar effects and the tortured vocals that are perhaps the one anchor mooring it to the extreme metal world. Tracks like "Predicted to Lead - Doomed to Fail" are surprisingly enthusiastic considering the themes, almost like a fluffy archaic Gothic pop dowsed in snarling vitriol, and "Whitewood" congregates about the subtle grooves of its bass line, peppered in graceful pianos and distant acoustics. "Released" is another winner, with clean guitars conjuring textures of narcotic miasma above the support of the bass.

Unfortunately, not all of the tracks are so consistent or interesting, with a few being too brief to capture the spirit like their neighbors, though they try. "Tissue of Life" itself, the album's closer and lengthiest piece, is not bad, but it feels like a recycling of the motifs from previous tracks, and the plucky guitar/bass tone poem "Sick Man Pleading" is somewhat dull and unfinished sounding. The quality of the music overall is not highly compelling, though I do admire the band for branching out into this leeching, languished schema, and they'll certainly draw some attention for their consistent, bleak mood. Pill poppers and scum scrubbers alike might want to assess a few of their bleeding eyes with this Tissue of Life, because it does create a drug like, colorless haze in which phantoms do extract from corpus and dance the lilt of despair and oppression, but I feel like the Danish band itself could better ply the lucid life streams.

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com