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inferno24
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The Foreshadowing - Seven Heads Ten Horns (2016) review

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The Foreshadowing is a Gothic Doom sextet that have been around for a little over ten years now. The band is fronted by lead vocalist and songwriter Marco Benevento. Benevento came forward into the style of Metal with his first project, How Like a Winter; a Shakespearean style of Gothic Doom that was centered by violins, pianos, grunts and dual female vocals, and a generally theatrical, Symphonic atmosphere. In The Foreshadowing, the approach is much more straightforward, taking on a riff-based form of the style.

'Seven Heads Ten Horns' is the band's fourth album, and it doesn't stray far from the sound that the group have established over the course of their past albums. Here, you will find a relaxed, melodic blend of Doom and Gothic Metal. When I say "Gothic", I refer moreso to the bands who made clear ties to Gothic Rock in their music, such as Tiamat, Type O Negative, and of course Paradise Lost. The Symphonic aspects and harsh vocals of How Like a Winter are nowhere to be found, which allows the clean singing and mellow guitar leads to create the bulk of the music.

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Anybody who is familiar with the Game of Thrones series is surely aware of The Foreshadowing's rendition of the song, 'The Rains of Castamere'; a haunting, solemn anthem that is used in representation during scenes of battle, victory, and destruction. This alone can help conjure up an idea of the atmosphere of this album; a Medieval tale that is heroic at times, but can also be tragic as well.

A good indicator for the Medieval factor would be the overture of the album; a two-minute instrumental entitled 'Ishtar'. The piece opens with a calm melody played on (what I believe to be) a lute, backed by quiet cymbals and harpsichords. Acoustic guitars and soothing choral chants come into the mix, creating a majestic blend that wouldn't sound out of place on a Dead Can Dance album.

This calm intro builds up to our first track, 'Fall of Heroes', and this is where the full extent of The Foreshadowing's music unfolds. A heroic, battle-like atmosphere swells, as smooth guitar lines are backed by a gentle, atmospheric synthesizer. Marco's voice is deep, gentle, and inoffensive. I would say his voice is akin to Aaron Stainthorpe's singing in My Dying Bride, though a bit more finely-tuned and less dramatic. The exclusive usage of his deep clean singing is refreshing, as I find harsh vocals would have tainted the relaxed, intimate atmosphere that The Foreshadowing are able to create with their music.

The guitars range from being solemn and down-tempo, to some slightly more aggressive, chugging kind of movements which lean more towards regular Gothic Metal. A good example of this smooth transition would be track four, entitled 'New Babylon'. The track opens with some tasteful marching-style drum lines and a mellow blend of guitar and organ melodies. This builds up to a more upbeat refrain, which will surely remind fans of Anathema of their classic track, 'Restless Oblivion'.

Going back to the drumming, I am pleasantly surprised by how busy the drum lines are at times. Gothic Doom has never really been known for its drumming, though with the complicated fills and tempo changes, the music borders on modern Progressive Metal at times. In fact, fifth track 'Lost Soldiers' has a build-up, chord progressions, and vocal lines that lie somewhere in between Opeth's 'Damnation' and Katatonia's 'Viva Emptiness' albums. Though some may see it as though The Foreshadowing make their influences a tiny bit too clear at times, I find that the nice mixing-bowl of decent bands is part of what makes their music so pleasant to listen to.

That being said, what I find takes away from this album is exactly that; it is really nothing new from what The Foreshadowing have released in the past. In fact, I am somewhat reminded of what Draconian did with their most recent album, 'Sovran'. I say that, not so much because the two bands are clearly similar in style, but moreso because both bands have played the same style long enough now that there's not much more to be brought to the table. There was no time throughout this album that made me go "oh wow" or even any parts that I found to be all that intense. The Foreshadowing are great at what they do, and I enjoy their stuff, but their material does not really capture me the way it did the first time I heard their debut album, 'Days of Nothing'.

However, don't let my mindset discourage you. This is a very mature, well-performed, well-written album. It's Gothic Doom in its purest form; without any Symphonic frills or unnecessary harsh vocals. I would recommend it particularly to those who are just now exploring Doom Metal, and want to start off with something easy on the ears.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=cy2BFTDT604

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