To prevent any accusations that I only review obscure underground black metal, today we take a look at some melodic death metal. Specifically, we will check out Josh McMorran’s new side project Forlorn World. And I will be the perfectly impartial investigator to tackle this task, as I am not at all familiar with Josh’s main crew Bloodshot Dawn.
According to the promo blurb, Josh’s main motivation to do this solo project was to create an album around an epic narrative and feel free to explore a DIY approach and musical paths that he could or would not tread with his main band, due to a certain weight of expectations on the more popular outfit. Rather than stifling his ideas, Josh did the right thing and wrote, recorded and produced Forlorn World’s debut album Umbra. And I am glad he did, as this is quite a debut!
Through the 7 songs that sum up to 30 minutes, Josh weaves a dynamic songwriting full of brilliant guitar work, consisting of plenty of heavy riffs, beautiful melodies and lots of awesome soli. This man can play! Mixed with this are heavy and rhythmically interesting drums and quite a few well placed, very tasteful synth elements. The vocals are a good mix of growls and clean singing, both perfectly executed. The bass, courtesy of Giacomo Gastaldi (Bloodshot Dawn, Darkend), also shines, for example during a very jazzy interlude/solo in title track / album closer Umbra. How much of all the other brilliance was Josh himself I cannot say, as the album includes guest solos and vocals from Francesco Paoli (Fleshgod Apocalypse), Morgan Reid, Yo Oniytan and “many more”. Who did what part on what track I could not tell, but in the end it does not matter – most importantly it all comes together really well, and that’s what counts.
Another plus point is the awesome sound of the record. Josh did the mixing himself, but had help from Jacob Hansen of Hansen Studios for mastering and some additional mixing. Again, I don’t know about the work split in detail, but the result speaks for itself. This a heavy sounding piece of metal goodness.
The only complaint I have about this record is its length. After 30 minutes that fly by in a moment, I am perplexed that it’s already over, and I hit play again. That only speaks to the quality of the music though, as it leaves me wanting more. So this is a hard recommendation, and I will now go check out Josh’s main band. And if I may direct one wish into Josh’s direction: more of this please! I hope Forlorn World is not a one-off trial, but a new band project that’s here to stay.