Forest Silence
Philosophy of Winter

Candlelight has brought us the first full length recording of Hungarian band Forest Silence. Forest Silence is one of those self released bands that falls into the cracks of obscurity and is probably dismissed without listening by most that see the cd, which is a shame because this is not simply old Norwegian worship as the name might imply. While cold dark winter and nature’s awesome majesty are the prime movers in inspiration, Edvard Grieg is just as much an influence as Immortal.

I was turned onto this band by Winter himself back in 1998, being a big Sear Bliss fan at the time, and proceeded to talk up the band to various people over the years and when I played the demos for them usually got gruff comments of “not metal”. Well, The Eternal Winter changed that and Philosophy of Winter builds on that ambient framework an even heavier dose of true black metal. The pace tends toward mid to slow with keys controlling nearly all forward flow of the music as well as handing the ambiance. Drums, guitar and vocals are typically harsh and minimal, most definitely not sloppy, just minimal. Nagy András provides session guitars and Zoltán Schönberger session drums.

Winter’s voice has a mesmerizing quality and the percussion has just enough detail and fills to keep you listening. It is easy to lose track of which song you are listening to, if you miss the pause between tracks, but in my opinion that does not matter because Winter is writing long linear compositions that fit seamlessly together, fitting down comfortably over you like a dense spring fog rising off the snow cover. Songs are shorter now, in the seven minute range instead of eleven to twenty, and some of the ambient passages have been toned down, which, actually, is a shame because those various passages are a strength on the early works, like the sensation of things crawling around below the snow cover I get from the introductory song on The Third Winter, also called “Third Winter”.

Over the years he has been moving more and more toward true black metal without moving away from dark ambience. The vocals have become both more forceful and louder. Obviously a mesmerizing quality is important to ambient music so it is vital he keeps it with the infusion of drumming and guitars taking over so much of the soundscape, though I do miss the subtlety of the beautifully conceived demo passages, like the intro to “Winter Circle.” The key to enjoying this disc is to think endless cold thoughts. Careful listening reveals that the winter forest is not silent after all.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Grimulfr
November 10th, 2006

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