Review: Foretoken – Ruin

Prosthetic Records are starting their release schedule for September pretty strong with the debut album of melodic death metal band Foretoken. With Steve Redmond, who is responsible for all the musical compositions and performances (save for the drums), and Dan Cooley, who takes care of the lyrics and vocals, the core band consists of only two members. The drumparts were handled by Hannes Grossmann, former drummer for a myriad of bands like Necrophagist or Obscura, and currently to find behind the kit of US death metal band Hate Eternal.

Ruin focuses on the misfortune of both some of the better and lesser known characters of the world’s mythology. Lyrics draw on tales from various global cultures, representing everything from Celtic lore to Greek tragedy, from Hindu symbolism through to Norse icons. However, the central characters are not always named, allowing the listener to immerse themselves fully in the storytelling and messages within the myths.

The band grants you only about 20 seconds of a somewhat calming intro before they switch the gear into overdrive with some melodic, tremolo-picked parts and a furious blast-beat. Bewildering Duress is the perfect vanguard for what’s about to come in the next 45 minutes. Great vocals (all harsh. No clean ones on this record), paired with catchy guitar-riffs and beautiful orchestration, underlined with drumparts of someone who clearly knows what he’s doing. Almost always ferocious, with very few tranquil parts sewn in between.

The Retribution was chosen as the records first single. It’s been a while since I read my Germanic and Nordic mythology-books, so I’m not quite sure who’s the point-of-view character of this song (My guesses are either Tyr or Vidar, but I wouldn’t bet money on it). Lyrically it’s about the chaining of the great wolf fenrir by the aesir with a dwarven chain called “gleipnir”, which is made out of (among other things) the breath of a fish, and the beard of a woman. Gotta love that Nordic mythology.

By the time A Deathless Prison finishes, I almost get the feeling, the album was supposed to sound like one long song. And I mean that in a very positive sense. The whole album is somehow over in a heartbeat. Not even the two songs that surpass the ten minute mark, Hamartia and Indelibility of Iniquity, feel drawn out. That’s something even big name bands don’t always accomplish (looking at you, Iron Maiden!).

By mixing various metal-genres like black-, death-, and folk-metal with symphonic- and technical parts, Foretoken create something oddly familiar, yet unique sounding. Somehow they remind me of Wintersun, although they don’t sound like them at all. I’m really looking forward to their next record. I hope it won’t take them as many years for their sophomore-record as it did Mr. Mäenpää and his band.

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