Who hasn’t played with the thought of what would have been if only things had been done differently, done with the wisdom of hindsight, with more life experience, more knowledge, more time, more money, more options? What would have been the outcome if you had gone down “the road not taken”?

For most of us this will always remain a mind game, an imaginary possibility, but the Catalan atmospheric metal band Foscor have actively explored this idea. And I find that interesting. Their new album Les Irreals Versions (The Unreal Versions) features six covers of their own songs. Five of the tracks appeared originally on their last album, Les Irreals Visions, released a little more than a year ago, and one track is from the album before the last, Those Horrors Wither (2014). All tracks have been rearranged and recorded from scratch.

Why? What for? Well, I suppose the motivation lies somewhere along the lines of what I’ve written in the beginning. How does it sound? All in all, the music sounds more mellow, less heavy, though not necessarily less dark, but more sophisticated, more mature, more intimate, also a bit melancholy and apathetic. The prog element is entirely gone.

The musical differences are not so great if you compare this album to their last one. It sounds more like they’ve gone further down the atmospheric path they’ve chosen on Les Irreals Visions. However, if you look at their black metal beginnings, the differences are great. They have really come a long way. And you don’t even need to go all the way back to their beginnings. Just comparing the new album to the one before the last is enough to see that.

Take for example the new album’s final track L.amor.t. While the originally version (on Those Horrors Wither) is characterized by an earthy sound, by heavy riffage and growls, the newer version is more minimalistic, more spherical, especially in the beginning, with clean vocals, but nothing less effective, just subtler.

So, what is this? A way for the band to recycle their old stuff and make a little bit more money on it? No, I don’t think so. It seems artistically legitimate to me to modify a bit what you’ve said, or the way you’ve said it, because your outlook on things has changed. That’s ok. As Muhammad Ali said: “The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.”

It’s up to the listeners to decide which versions they can better relate to and explore their own personal growth along the way.

(7.5/10 Slavica)