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Forming The Void – Reverie Award winner

Forming The Void
by Dave Nowels at 07 May 2020, 5:48 PM

Louisiana's FORMING THE VOID return this Friday 5/8 with their third full length album, “Reverie” via Ripple Music, and it's one that should definitely garner the quartet deserved attention. These guys have been on my radar since their last effort, 2018's magnificent “Rift”, which I really loved and still do. I've also seen these guys tear up the physical realm live and in person, and let me tell you, there's no smoke and mirrors with this band. These guys are talented, dedicated and well, just really nice guys to boot. They're one of those band that you latch onto, really dig and just can't comprehend why they're not bigger than they are. It's nuts.

“Reverie” is 7 tracks, 37 minutes of a slow and smoldering burn. It shows a band that's maturing, evolving and starting to exploring the outer reaches. I've often seen them referred to as a Stoner, Sludge, Prog, or Doom band, and maybe they are. There's certainly elements of all of those present. But there's something more substantial to what FORMING THE VOID are after in their music. Rather just plotting a primal approach, like SLEEP do so well, they slyly achieve that same transcendent destination with a with a more ELDER-like scenery observed in-between. Take the album's opener, “Sage”. Thomas Colley's drums and Thorn Letulle's bass set the pace, while James Marshall and Shadi Omar Al Khansa's guitars work to fill every empty space of sonic real estate with a driving riff and serpentine leads. “Manifest” being another example of this coordinated cunning and cleverness.

There's a similar tone and approach with the next track “Onward Through The Haze” and indeed Instead, it's a perfect example of complete and effective percussion. It's perfect evidence of the notes not played, being equally important as those actually struck. Al-Khansa's emotive playing reinforces my belief he's a severely underrated player. His leads often show a flavor of his Lebanese heritage (“Trace The Omen”, “Manifest” ), and always creativeness and passion. He plays with an emotion that overflows and guides his efforts. That in and of itself adds such a secret weapon to FORMING THE VOID. But it's the addition of Marshall's guitar a vocal handiwork that adds the depth of what I'd call, a tumult of organic earthiness. Bassist Thorn Letulle is the newest addition to the band, recently replacing Luke Baker, and as excited as I was to hear his new contributions, I really wish his bass was more prominent in the mix throughout as it was in “Trace The Omen”. Overall, I found the guitars carried the majority of the lower weight as well as the upper heft, regulating Letulle to occupying the groove alongside Colley, somewhat out of sight, out of mind.

The most notable trend for maturity with FORMING THE VOID's sound, has to be Marshall's vocals. On “Rift” they seemed more limited in range, assuming more of a droning quality. But here, Marshall's dancing more boldly, taking things up the register (literally) and really adding a mystical four dimensional, shamanic feel to the songs. “Trace The Omen” “The Ending Cometh” and “Electric Hive” being noticeable examples. As far as highlights go, that's a tough spot. It's like picking your favorite breath over a lifetime. The whole album is really out of this world, dig? Also, it's light years ahead along the originality, inventive and celestial curves. The closing duo stood out like warrior beasts grappled in combat. “Ancient Satellite's” crushing momentum really impressed, only to be surpassed by the ambition of “The Ending Cometh”. Al-Khansa's & Marshall's guitar work here is ridiculous. “Trace The Omen” also really jumped out at me. Maybe more than the others. The pace and riff, the vocals, and especially that hypnotic guitar solo. So yeah, pretty much the whole album. I like it more and more with each listen. Celestial and earthy, “Reverie” shows that FORMING THE VOID is moving forward with purpose and an uncompromising determination. I can't wait to hear these songs added into the live setlist. Thanks guys, well done.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 7


4 Star Rating

1. Sage
2. Onward Through The Haze
3. Trace The Omen
4. Manifest
5. Electric Hive
6. Ancient Satellite
7. The Ending Cometh
James Marshall – Vocals, Guitar
Shadi Omar Al-Khansa – Guitar
Thomas Colley – Drums
Thorn Letulle – Bass

Record Label: Ripple Music


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