Album Review: Forming The Void - Reverie
Reviewed by Jon Wigg
Stoner-prog band ‘Forming the Void’ present their fourth album in ‘Reverie’. This is my first time listening to ‘Forming the Void’ and I really enjoyed their mix of Southern groove, progressive riffing and downright dirty fuzz. And it’s the fuzz that envelops the entire album, hugging it like meeting a best friend for the first time in years – full of familiarity while also yearning for new news. Indeed that familiarity is comforting for me as there is a real early Soundgarden vibe here, which is definitely a bonus. The prog is also heavy with some real atmosphere especially from the lilting vocals of James Marshall, which can sound almost lazy at times, fitting in with the swing of the softer sections, and providing steel when necessary.
The performances from the entire band throughout are spot on. The drumming from Thomas Colley is minimal where required and provides the drive and power in exactly the right spots. This is demonstrated best on album highlight ‘Onward through the Haze’ where the playing isn’t overly technical but provides exactly the right balance of grunt and grace in equal measures. Both this track and ‘Trace the Omen’ also add a psychedelic element which really ramps up the prog atmosphere and these sections really add a nice contrast to the dirty fuzz.
Lead guitars licks from Shadi Omar Al-Khansa feels like treacle in the way it pours in gracefully to the atmosphere. The tone is perfect throughout, lilting and soulful at times, forceful and urgent at others. And the bass line from Luke Baker brings the whole thing together and while heavy in the mix, adds to the comfort that all fuzz music should.
On ‘Reverie’ the band has managed to avoid the often used prog tool of massively long songs which don’t lend themselves to repeat listening. While this is an album best listened to in its entirety to soak up the atmosphere, with all 7 tracks clocking in at around the 5 minute mark, any could be added to a playlist as a fine example of what ‘Forming the Void’ are all about.
As with a lot of more recent prog-metal, there is also a few ‘Tool’ influences, most notably on ‘Manifest’ with its beautiful, soaring solos and off-beat riffs. Opener ‘Sage’, ‘Ancient Satellite’ and ‘Electric Hive’ are more traditional stoner fuzz tracks with good changes of pace and any would fit into the playlist of any metal fan. Closer ‘The Ending Cometh’ finishes proceedings with a slice of old school Doom Metal. Slow, powerful and haunting, the stunning solo is another highlight from ‘Reverie’ and is really impactful.
Overall, ‘Reverie’ is a fine album that should be added to the library of any fan of stoner, doom or prog metal. Now I’m off to listen to their earlier stuff with a bottle of JD!
Forming the Void release 'Reverie' on May 8th via Ripple Music.