Sunday, 9 September 2018

Album Spotlight: Forlorn Citadel - Songs of Mourning / Dusk

Songs of Mourning / Dusk by Forlorn Citadel is to be released in November as part of the Northern Silence Underground Series, which is aimed at giving new and as yet unknown artists a bit of a kickstart with the opportunity to get their music out in physical format. Forlorn Citadel is one of these artists and the album combines the two demos released so far into one release which will get a limited-edition CD run of 500 copies.

These two demos, individually titled Dusk and Songs of Mourning and originally released in 2017 and 2018 respectively are very different in style yet show considerable promise even though Forlorn Citadel is still in its formative years. Originally conceived as an ambient / dungeon synth project with the first demo being entirely in this style, Forlorn Citadel soon moved to incorporate black metal into the picture with the second and it’s this sound which forms the basis of where Solace (the sole member) plans to take the project.

I’ll talk about each of the two parts separately simply because they are very different and mark two different phases of the band. Dusk was the first demo released (although makes up the final part of this CD) and consists three short tracks of pure dungeon synth / ambient style music. What’s here is enjoyable and atmospheric, with serene ambient sounds combining with more solemn and dramatic medieval sounding parts to create a vivid yet calming atmosphere. In all honesty the only real thing that lets the Dusk part down in my opinion is it’s just too short to draw you in and immerse you fully in the sound. However, this was just the starting point for Forlorn Citadel and it serves well to showcase where the roots of the band lie, but it’s with Songs of Mourning where we really see this project take shape.

Released originally earlier this year, Songs of Mourning shows a much improved and much more confident sound, with the addition of black metal as a core ingredient as well. The atmospheric synths are still prominent, but we’re hearing a much more well rounded and fleshed out entity here. Synths may well be common in black metal anyway but given the origins of this band we see the synths employed with great effect and they make up a significant aspect of Forlorn Citadel’s sound, pinned together by the black metal framework. The essence of both black metal and dungeon synth is captured and comes out to the full, complementing each other well and anyone who is a fan of atmospheric black metal of this nature will find much to enjoy here.

Put together, the combined release does an excellent job of showcasing just what Forlorn Citadel is about, as well as acting as a landmark to show where this band is at now and where it came from. Songs of Mourning may well be the stronger of the two parts, but the Dusk tracks are an essential part of this too given that without them you’d lose half of the current make-up of Forlorn Citadel’s sound. I think when all is said and done, the main thing Songs of Mourning / Dusk accomplishes is it leaves you hungry for a full, proper album. It’s a solid release in its own right but also a great appetiser for the upcoming main course and that is something I really look forward to hearing, and I guess this is part of the intent behind Northern Silence’s Underground Series.

This really is a great start, and if you’re a fan of black metal, dungeon synth and ambient music this is worth getting hold of as it plays on the strengths of those genres and makes the most of the common ground shared by them, and as such the music presented will appeal to most people who like those styles I expect. Being honest, I think Forlorn Citadel is a band we’ll hear great music from in the future and hopefully will be a band recognised for doing so. Watch this space folks.