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Mixed bag of post-apocalyptic storytelling - 82%

kluseba, October 20th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2012, CD, Metal Blade Records (Digipak)

Second World is a conceptual record about the aftermaths of a nuclear war and what civilisation becomes after such a terrible event. The Foreshadowing manages to create an authentic release with a very desperate, gloomy and tense atmosphere. Second World is an almost cinematic experience and works very well from start to finish.

If compared to the lethargic but highly efficient Oionos, there are more things going on musically on Second World. Progressive rock organ sounds meet gothic piano melodies. Haunting sacral choirs harmonize with the lead singer's charismatic baritone vocals. Samples of burning houses and fading sounds of playgrounds add an atmospheric note that makes the conceptual purpose even more efficient. All these elements increase the band's usual strengths in form of sorrowful guitar melodies, thunderous bass guitar and precise and dynamic drum play. There is no question that The Foreshadowing is both one of the best contemporary doom and gothic metal bands in the world. Especially the longer tracks such as ''Havoc'', ''Colonies'' and ''Noli Timere'' underline the band's intellectual songwriting and intense atmosphere.

However, if compared to its other records, Second World is missing a memorable track that really stands out. The predecessor Oionos had a remarkable second half crowned by a haunting cover version of Sting's ''Russians'' without losing its lethargic guiding line and even the slightly conservative successor Seven Heads Ten Horns had two massive hits with the determined ''Two Horizons'' and the dreamy ''Seventeen''. Second World might be the band's least accessible record because it only focuses on its atmosphere and concept. This usually recommendable focus ironically becomes the record's Achilles' heel.

If you are looking for a record with a focused, intellectual and intense atmosphere, Second World could be considered The Foreshadowing's best release. In terms of creativity, energy and progression, Second World is though the group's weakest output to date. The instrumental variations and sound samples in some tracks can't hide the fact that the group didn't move one inch away from its usual style. This is why Second World is quite a mixed bag. It clearly isn't as strong as the inspired Oionos but maybe overall more convincing than Seven Heads Ten Horns that had a few fillers. In the end, Second World is best enjoyed if you feel like embracing the album's post-apocalyptic atmosphere but it definitely isn't a record you could casually listen to.

This is the true potential of Doom Metal Today - 97%

Kritik, December 21st, 2014
Written based on this version: 2012, CD, Metal Blade Records (Digipak)

The Foreshadowing is coming from Italy but is clearly atypical of the type of band we have come to expect from there. When we think about Italian bands, we think about Rhapsody Of Fire or other heavily symphonic bands coming from this country. The Foreshadowing is not only a doom metal band, but they also have a minimalistic approach that I will explain later. This band also focuses on a lot of feelings and atmosphere.

The minimalist approach the band seems to know well on this release has in fact been found on the last full length named "Oionos". On this album, these Italians experimented with their sound quite a bit and did an excellent minimalist record but it was a bit unsurprising. One clearly finds a logical evolution between "Second World" and the last release nonetheless, because the approach is still the same, it's just feeling way more organic and consistent.

This album is more consistent because of two aspects that have been improved since the last release. There's actually a bit more going on at the same time this time around. What has been added is floating guitar arrangements, many keyboards and what seems to be a church organ floating in the background of the songs that actually add a lot to the musical picture the band tries to expose. There is also much more variety to be found on this release compared to the last.

What is clear about this album is its atmosphere that will jump on everyone that will listen to it. "Havoc", the first song on this release, already sets the tone for the rest of the record. The sound of a burning fire followed by a simplistic yet very efficient guitar riff lead toward a more atmospheric passage with keyboard and church organ in great harmony. Add to this a very good Gregorian chant and you got quite the atmospheric masterpiece the style promised us since its origin.

The variety on this album is present way more than on the last release, sometimes some songs are very different from the rest of the bunch while at other times, it's simply a very different way to approach the general feeling present on the release. The second part of the album contains the most impressive work of this band. The more mainstream approach of the song "Ground Zero" works surprisingly well in the flow of the album but includes nonetheless a chorus that reminds me of the kind of chorus of the 80's and 90's. It even makes me remember the early years of Moonspell. I mean mainstream by the fact that the chorus and the general flow of this song is clearly easier to digest and to remember from the album than the majority of songs from the doom metal scene. The borderline folk oriented doom metal masterpiece "Colonies" is just incredible and offers a touch of hope in what seems to be quite the saddest world one can sing about. In this song, there is a feeling that you, as a listener, are told about this legend, and suddenly, you are completely drown into the story of the album. This is probably the climax of the album.

On a production level, everything is very well balanced. The singer has a very gentle melancholic voice quite fitting the rest of this already complex puzzle. We hear every instrument independently while still understanding the overall result. We can even decipher the keyboard from the guitar and the church organ when the three are playing together in a three layer fashion, something that was completely absent from the last release. The drums on this release are exceptional and it seems the band members know it themselves, because they let the drummer having his word even in the melodies of the song. One example of the great drumming can be heard in the song "Aftermaths". One can't simply listen to this album at low volume because one may miss all the layers of music the band put on here. The lyrical content is also quite impressive and makes for a very pleasant reading. They are like poem floating in the air of the album and flows very well with the overall feeling and atmosphere present here.

These are all the reasons why if you happen to like the doom metal style at any state of the music scene, you should really consider listening to this masterpiece. The songs are as alive as art can possibly be. There is also much variety to be found here without the exaggeration found on too many songs of this style. With a focus on atmosphere and multi-layered music without overdoing it, The Foreshadowing has crafted a worthy album representing the potential of the doom metal genre.