Listening back to Fórn’s debut, self-titled EP, it was pleasantly surprising to see a band that could encompass so well all the different aspects of doom metal. The dirt and weight of sludge, the old-school doom mentality, the funeral pace at parts and even a blackened aura hovering over their music were all spot on in that instance. The band from Boston remained very active, releasing just one year after their debut full-length, The Departure of Consciousness, establishing their stature in the scene.
Once more like clockwork, Fórn returns one year after their debut full-length to unveil their second EP, entitled Weltschmerz (roughly translates as “world-weariness).” The band’s newest offering will see the light of day (darkness of night, depending on your point of view) through Gilead Media around December. Featuring two long movements, “Saudade” and “Dolor,” Fórn travel through darkness and weariness in order to find a sense of solace.
The core of the band is obvious and it lies within the doom/sludge domain. The sludge dirt is employed throughout the EP, with its weight heavily coming down and causing havoc, as the circular progression of the songs, the deep vocals and thundering snare reveal the volatile nature of Fórn. “Saudade 1” follows that path, but there are also slight switches towards a more minimal sludge concept in the track, with the lead work complimenting the solitary scenery. “Saudade 2” sees the band taking on a more doom metal pessimism, rather than a sludge form. The guitars alone in this instance are able to lift the doom identity on their own, unfolding at the same time its melodic elements. “Dolor 1” takes on a more old-school manifestation, as the heavy groove comes in, reminiscent of the great doom acts of the ’90s.
The sludge and doom aspects alone are giving the album this weary feeling, but Fórn are still able to stretch this dread even further. There are tendencies towards a more blackened sound with the eerie parts rising through mournful guitar phrases in “Saudade 2,” while parts of “Dolor 1” are able to reach a horrific quality when the ghostly leads collide with the mysterious tonality. Still, Fórn do not step there. They further push “Dolor 1” towards extreme doom/sludge and within funeral territory. The fluency with which this is achieved is magnificent, retaining the dark veil over the track and enhancing its bleakness. There are even parts where Fórn undertake a minimalistic approach. The opening track features such a moment amidst the sludge chaos, focusing on the reverb-drenched guitars leading the way. “Dolor 2” is another instance of that mentality from Fórn as the feedback and effects take over creating soundscapes, different from what we were used to this far, mainly more volatile and unstable.
However, as dark and damned all these might feel, Fórn do still contain a degree of solace within their concepts. It is as if once you have accepted the futility of it all, you are in turn rewarded. The music of Fórn is heavily built on its ambiance, which is in big part built through the guitars. The melodies at the opening of “Saudade 1” and the acoustic guitar parts fill the soundscapes with sweet phrases, exploring the space and awakening emotion with each passing note. In a similar motto, the solitary guitars are able to construct the atmosphere of “Saudade 2” with the melodies overflowing, sculpting the track before the heavy riffs tear them all down.
In the end it comes down to the feeling that you want to transfer to your listeners and your ability to do so. From that aspect it is amazing how well Fórn are able to convey these emotions of nostalgia and longing, which appear to be constantly present in this EP, no matter whether the part is heavy or atmospheric or minimal, this sorrow always remains. And there are even glimpses towards different states of mind, as happens with “Dolor 2” which features some twisted parts with the noise and effects full on, alongside the rise of strange lead parts. It is different from what the rest of the album focused on, something that makes it its darkest moment.
Fórn really manage to pull off their goal with Weltschmerz. They are able to produce all the different elements of doom, ranging from funeral and sludge to minimalistic, but they attain the right feeling for their music. This is an album of surrender to nostos and longing.