FoscorI confess that I’d never heard of Foscor before but what struck me when I’d listened to a few minutes of this album was the impeccable balance they create in their music. This impression was based on “Whirl of Dread”, a darkly progressive death metal style track with a fluid song structure, intrigue, twists and turns, smoky passages and a constantly sinister edge. The singer has a great voice, adding a personal touch and humanity to the growly, djenty deathliness. It’s a great combination. Death meets dreams. The covering riff is unusual. “Whirl of Dread” is music to indulge in. I indulged myself.

I realised I’d been spoilt with such a sublime opening track but to my delight, the treat continues. There’s so much quality about this album. “Addiction” again contrasts darkness and light and introduces us to areas in between with its haunting quality and pungent riff. This album is full of clever but integral guitar pieces as it flows from one melodic and exciting structure to another. There are reminders of Opeth in the dark progressiveness, Audrey Horne in the vocals, a lot of Nahemah in the passionate flow, and Arkan in the exotic darkness, which at times falls between Mediterranean and North African style rhythms. But this is Foscor, and I discovered through subsequent research that those “ethnic” rhythms were probably Catalan, reflecting the band’s origins. The drums lead us through sophisticated webs. The band steer us through thunder with their exhilarating guitar patterns. “Those Horrors Wither” is seriously good. When I first listened to this, like waiting for the next instalment of a favourite TV drama  I looked forward to every passage, every development, every track and all I wanted to do was listen to it again. It’s non stop progressive death metal action, laced with intrigue and imagination. There are quiet passages but the law of constant motion is never far away. Mind-blowingly moody sections take us into epic passages and even meditation at the end of “L.Amor.T” but dark clouds then descend on the title track and superimpose themselves mercilessly on this shadowy scene. This is an album of unstoppable fluidity and atmospheres. Yet it’s unconventional as the prog death combines with the innocent sounding vocal. It’s heavy, it plunges the depths, and it reaches to the sky. It’s hard to predict. But Foscor sweep us along with great depth and sharp climactic intensity. “To Strangle a Ghost” has a fittingly haunting riff line, but it’s also thunderously heavy, melodic and sinister. The clean and growled vocals operate in expressive contrast. Just like the rest of this phenomenal album, it’s fresh, exciting and dynamic.

This album can be enjoyed at every level. Technically it is sublime and original but thanks to the fluidity and construction, it’s gripping, like a book you cannot put down. This is progressive death metal at its finest. Every track is a jewel. This hypnotising album exudes magic with its expressive rhythms, exotic flavours and worlds of intrigue. I may not have known about Foscor before listening to “Those Horrors Wither”, but that’s my problem. I certainly know about them now. It transpires they’ve been around for 14 years, which would explain the remarkable maturity of the album.

(9.5/10 Andrew Doherty)