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Forlorn World - Umbra

Forlorn World
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 06 September 2020, 2:45 PM

FORLON WORLD is the melodic death side project from the main guy behind BLOODSHOT DAWN, Josh McMorran.  I am not familiar with that band but after hearing this debut “Umbra,” I am thoroughly impressed with what Josh has to offer MDM. I want to talk about how well done the production is. It might be a bit too loud but it is also robust as hell.  I mean, this album has meat and potatoes to its sound.  The double bass alone feels like it will collapse my brain so extra kudos to Josh for programming such intense work.  “Umbra” just has such a huge, immense sound that seems like it will go on forever.

As expected from such slick production, this album sounds very modern.  “Umbra” certainly isn’t your Gothenburg style of melodic death but instead an album that is as heavy as it is melodic and does a good job in balancing both these aspects.  The album doesn’t cross over to the technical side or anything but it is clear to me that Josh knows his way around every instrument he plays.  His vocals are also commendable—he has his own style but reminds me a lot of Christian Alvestam (MISERATION, SOLUTION .45) because he has a deep, throaty growl but can also be understood.  He performs cleans too and he pulls them off well to make every chorus effective.

The album opens with “Moving Mountains,” and it is a very powerful opener so it is perfectly titled.  The guitars and drums meld as one, subtle keys highlight the overall atmosphere, and well placed melodies bring the opening moments to a head with Josh’s raging growls cutting through it all.  The chorus is clean vocalized and catchy as hell—and it keeps the song flowing despite the vocal change and the increasing melodic guitars behind it.  “The Shadowmancer,” is one of the more intense songs on the album, not the last of which is because of the bass which really pops and makes its presence known.  Another catchy chorus is found here and is sandwiched between two very intense sections.  After the chorus plays the second time, a guitar solo starts that goes through the rest of the song and picks up more notes, melody, and intensity as it goes along.

The third track, “Before The End,” is just a short interlude of melodic leads.  It isn’t bad but it fills more like filler than an actual song.  I wish it had been expanded upon further or placed as the intro. “March Into Void,” changes the tone to a darker nature with the rumbling bass and guitars leading the charge right out of the gate.  Josh once again shows how adapt he is at inject melody into the heavier parts with that short but sweet melodic solo that bridges the brutal parts of the song together.  The keys gently touch upon the song, highlighting all the elements together and pulling in the focus for the listener.  There is actually a breakdown at the 3:05 mark and it absolutely crushes everything.

Traveller,” is the longest song on the album and really stood out to me.  It takes its time getting to where it needs to go and fills in the space with a lot of different ideas—I’m hoping that future albums will expand upon the sound like “Traveller” hints at.  The opening, SCAR SYMMETRY where the guitars and keys act like one,  has a science fiction type of feel, similar to .  They keys are more prevalent on this song but it sounds more like spacey ambiance than something symphonic.  The chorus has a touch of sorrow to it for an added dimension to their sound.  After the chorus, the song injects a more death metal approach but never loses that playful sense of adventure and discovery that permeates through the song.

Pillars of Eternity,” is one hell of a song and one of the best on the album. Not only does it have some of the best riffs on the album but the overall energy and fervor is very exciting.  The spastic death vocals and the speed of the drums put it firmly into more death metal territory but those kick ass solos and keyboards once again bring in the melody. The title track is left to be the final and it is a fitting ending.  The guitars are beautiful in the beginning and standout among the furious double bass.  The song soon turns into the musical equivalent of an approaching beast, constantly stalking and unrelenting in its desire to rip you to pieces.  The chorus is perhaps the best on the album and the song picks up the brutality effortlessly after the cleans come and go.  The bass brings it hard and gives hints of a more progressive structure—maybe something for future albums?

I do wish the album was longer; it is seven tracks but under thirty minutes in length.  I, of course, believe in quality over quantity but I feel this album definitely needed another track or two. While I will definitely be checking out BLOODSHOT DAWN, I will be waiting very impatiently for more music under the FORLORN WORLD banner because “Umbra” is a stunning debut that tells me the sky is the limit for Josh.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Moving Mountains
2. The Shadowmancer
3. Before The End
4. March Into Void
5. Traveller
6. Pillars of Eternity
7. Umbra
Josh McMorran – Guitars, Vocals, Keyboards, Drum Programming
Giacomo Gastaldi – Bass
Record Label: Independent


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