How Like a Winter
03. The Forsaken Son
04. Second World
06. Ground Zero
07. Reverie is a Tyrant
09. Noli Timere
10. Friends of Pain
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In 2009, when Katatonia released Night is the New Day, I liked it so much that I decided to dive into the gothic/doom metal genre and see what other acts it had to offer. I mostly found bands that look like they are from The Matrix with sad vocalists who sound like a mixture of Danzig and Depeche Mode. I quickly decided this kind of music was not for me.
Fast-forward to this year, with another Katatonia album and another gothic/doom metal band in Decoy’s review queue. Would I make the same mistake again? Obviously. I’m writing this review right now, aren’t I? Yeah, The Foreshadowing look like they can learn kung fu via a port on the back of their neck, and yeah, lead vocalist/wallower Marco Benevento is from the Danzig/Depeche Mode school of vocals, but I still gave the entirety of Second World several listens.
To give you some context about how doomy The Foreshadowing are, Second World is the third album in a trilogy of albums about the apocalypse. You can now properly imagine what “Second World” actually means. Coming clean, Second World is satisfyingly heavy. The production fills up your ears with a good set of headphones. The Foreshadowing are most impressive in how they cultivate such a gloomy, oppressive atmosphere. It’s somewhat akin to standing alone in a phone booth during a torrential downpour, except instead of water is it raining shadows and sadness. “Ground Zero” and the title track are fine examples.
What holds back Second World for me – as both a listener and a genre neophyte – is the reluctance to change within a song and within the album as a whole. The Foreshadowing cultivate a heavy and oppressive atmosphere, yes, but they’ve got one speed. Album opener “Havoc” is a dreary and repetitive seven minutes. That might be atmosphere, but it’s a stale one, like recycled hospital air. That said, “Aftermaths” is a refreshing track, even if the change up is just “heavy” to “heavier.” But just shy of the five-minute mark, the heaviness eases away into quiet ambience and lends the song some much needed dynamics. More tracks like “Aftermaths” would breathe some much needed life into this post-apocalyptic vision.
If you’re looking for an album that will seep gradually into your subconscious, that goes well with dark rooms and headphones, and that inspires you to buy a long leather trench coat, Second World is a godsend (satansend?). But if you need an engaging listen, something to keep you awake on a long car ride, steer clear.