Forest of Tygers – I Will Die of Violence (Acteon Records, 08 November 2019)
Here at Valley of Steel HQ, we’ve been big fans of the husband and wife duo Forest of Tygers ever since they released their first EP Bruises over five years ago. We’ve written about these Nashvillians each time we’ve heard something new of theirs, and we’ve been anxiously awaiting the full-length record they’ve been talking about for a couple years — and (as of about a month ago) it’s finally here!
Guitarist/vocalist Jim and drummer Rachel Valosik have established themselves quite a reputation for creating superlatively black- and ugly-sounding conglomorations of hardcore/sludge/doom/metal, and newly-released I Will Die of Violence will only increase that…
… in a very literal sense. The record packs influences from so many different styles and veers off in so many fascinating directions, it’s sometimes tough to keep up. Just to use one song as an example, “Night’s Embers” opens the album with a brief snippet of gorgeous finger-picked acoustic, then juts jarringly into a lengthy sequence of jagged riffs so off-kilter and angular that they very well might be called mathcore (accompanied by an unhealthy dose of throat-shredding roaring).
This same type of dichotomous (or more accurately, polychotomous) juxtapositioning carries on through each inflammatory track: nearly-ceaseless hardcore kinetic energy, but painted such an ebony shade of black; vitriolic vocals tossed atop intricately assorted layers of guitar riffs, and all the while held up by a furious blizzard of drumming.
About midway through, the brief instrumental “Thin Place” reintroduces the acoustic guitar — setting a slight touch of warmness against desolate atmospheric sounds (the type of interlude that would have seemed right at home on an Agalloch LP). Later, several frenetic stretches death-thrash territory, amidst all the post-hardcore, post-black metal, and post-doom. Overall, Forest of Tygers keep dragging the listener through deeper and deeper waves of blackness and despair, and we just keep coming back for more.
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