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Pretty Good Acoustic Rock - 79%

lord_ghengis, September 9th, 2008

I am not familiar with any other Frostmoon Eclipse, instead I found this album when looking for acoustic albums by metal bands. While Dead and Forever Gone is a good album, it feels like a band who doesn't like acoustic music trying to make acoustic music. It's all very similar and monotonous, and feels more like a collage of other artists than a truly original work. Don't get me wrong, Dead and Forever Gone is very good, moving, and well made music, it's just a little bit overdone, and struggles to maintain interest for a full 40 minutes.

For this release Frostmoon Eclipse have decided to release some very depressive acoustic music, with a goal to make music that is pure depression. To do this, they've drawn from folkier music like Ulver's Kveldssanger, neo-folk music such as Agalloch and Tenhi, the more gloomy acoustic sections of Opeth, even early Katatonia appears to be an influence, just acoustic. Overall, it's all very well done, it's usually quite a downer as hoped by the group, and it's got the capability to be a varied enough listen for the duration. But unfortunately, it's all played at one tempo, the music is a little to close to the various templates of the influences, and the vocals are too quiet and become indistinguishable leading to the various differences in the approach of each song soon becoming irrelevant.

The music is quite depressive, very beautiful and melodic but certainly not made to put a smile on your face. Unlike a lot of albums using acoustics, the drumming and bass are quite heavily used but tastefully so. And the vocals are delivered in a very quite, half whispered drawl, it's quite a bleak sound. However the album, much like Kveldssanger of Ulver, occasionally gets a little too pretty, and loses its desolate atmosphere for a moment, but as a whole this manages to be a far more crushing experience than many of their ilk. So the music played isn’t particularly original, but thematically these guys have got their own thing happening. Unlike the music played, the lyrics are never pretty or anything other than dark the whole time, and are usually very good. Occasionally you'll get a few lines which are just trying far too hard to be cold, but tracks like the opener, "What Could Have Been" easily make up for it.

Dead and Forever Gone suffers from another problem that a lot of albums of the style have, all of the songs don't have much going on in them. Most song consists of 3 or 4 different melodies, it's not fast music, so that's to be expected somewhat, but they just don't go anywhere. The songs only run for 2-3 minutes, and it really cuts these songs short, they don't have time to grow and develop any real character of their own, other than overall feeling of cheerlessness that permeates this whole album. The fact that most of this album is played at a very consistent tempo makes this much worse, because you start to not realise when one song ends and another begins. The lack of distinctive vocals also amplifies this problem, which keeps compounding itself for the 41 minutes this album lasts.

With all that said Frostmoon Eclipse has done a nice job of writing quality sad music, and the enjoyment well and truly outweighs the negative side of the album. It's certainly one of the better ones of these "black metal band shows off their acoustic side" albums that are all the rage, if a little lacking in musical character and originality.