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An end to all things! - 80%

karimtarek1993, April 10th, 2010

Not really an Arabic metal enthusiast, I’ve lately bumped into Smouldering In Forgotten’s new album “I, Devourer” by a suggestion from a friend of mine followed by reading an article about the band and their new album on CNN. What I didn’t expect was that the album is really well done with great production and noticeable effort put in.

Smouldering In Forgotten is a three-member band from Manama, Bahrain that was formed in 2005. Featuring Mardus on vocals, Busac on guitars and drum programming and Voidhanger on guitar, bass and backing vocals. They have released their debut full-length “Legions Into Black Flames” in 2007 then lately released their stunner “I, Devourer” which does really deserve a stop.

From the first minute of the album it was quite easy to find out that this album is really going to be a thing, unlike most of the other Arabic bands’ albums. Music is maturely done; riffs are tight, drumming is strong and blasting all along, vocals are fierce enough to keep up with all the mess guitars and percussion are spawning. The album as a whole is fast, violent and strong, yet perfectly tight and rather dark.

I, Devourer shows a great Behemoth impact on Smouldering In Forgotten; they blended elements of black metal with their parallels of death metal craftily enough to stay away from any possible criticism regarding how good they played a black/death metal album. Music on I. Devourer is somehow chaotic but still tight, or in other words, tightly chaotic. It converges all the madness, gore, non-groove, anger, chaos, and violence of brutal death metal with all the wisdom, tightness, beauty, darkness, groove, and hopelessness of pure black metal.

To me, choosing to record programmed drums was a perfect decision Smouldering In Forgotten have made; it allowed them to implement their ideas and envisions about percussion on the album perfectly the same as they were on their minds before starting to make any progress and allowed them as well to perfect percussion on the album by the time they started to implement ideas on the drum machine. Therefore, drumming on “I, Devourer” seemed almost perfect to me (except for the disappearance of the China cymbal usage). The all along blasting and chaotic drum lines during “I, Devourer” was remarkable. Frankly, what mostly drew my attention on “I, Devourer” from the first listen was the drumming till I was aware it was programmed drums that is doing all that mess around which was pretty fair.

What is also impressive about ‘I, Devourer’ is that not all the tracks do sound the same as I expected when I first listened to the album; there is a good sense of variation Smouldering In Forgotten are putting on the album. Also a slight touch of progression which distinctively appears on “Unspoken Names”, a track that has beautifully and skillfully turned out from a down-tempo slow blackened death metal track into a fast, thrash metal influenced, angry and mind blasting one. Female vocals and keyboards on “An Elegy (For Tomorrow)” also sustain my point adding a big bit of variation to the album and enhancing it as well. “An Elegy (For Tomorrow)” was a really epic end to the album by the way, being of that type of tracks that are best put in the end of the album.

Overall, ‘I, Devourer’ is an impressive black/death metal album from a promising band that come from a territory that was least expected to give us a good extreme metal band. The album is rich with all what a death/black metaller would ask for; aggressive riffs, groove, chaotic blasting, guitar solos, powerful growling, speed, aggression, viciousness…etc. I would strongly recommend this to anyone who’s looking for a new good underground black/death metal band.

Highlights: An End To All Things, Dread Messiah, I, Devourer.

- Karim.