There appear to be two DSBM bands operating under this name which kind of surprises me. There being only two I mean. Anyway this is the US based one which in the studio means one man, A Kruger.

This begins with no messing about; straight into the kind of riff that screams Winterfylleth. You know that desolate sound of a driving riff that conjures billowing mists and cold moors. Here though the melody is mostly from the swirl of keyboards. It’s a sumptuous ten minutes (despite the abrupt ending in my review copy), well played and evocative, just that Winterfylleth feel is maybe a little overwhelming. When ‘Auto-Immolation’ begins the same worry creeps over me, even down to the vocal style. However after two or three minutes it’s as though the clouds part and Suicide Forest peer out. The riff drops into a sparser, rougher sound, the vocals push forward and I nod to myself. This ebb and flow works well over the eight minutes for an atmospheric wander in darkness.

‘Longing For Nothingness ‘ is the first time a track doesn’t open with ‘that’ sound. Again the rough, sparser and lower guitar sound serves so very well with the excellent vocals and the slow waltz of dark keyboards. There is a real sense of longing here, a gaze through darkness to what may lie beyond. It just works; it evokes solitude, a slow drift towards oblivion. It has the kind of class that Dis Pater brings, an unwavering vision. Excellent indeed.

‘Baptized In Pools Of Despondency’ is a short, but beautiful piece of piano melancholy. It sends ripples shimmering through dark water, gradually fading to the inevitable. It is perfectly placed too I feel, a pause before the slip towards the end.

‘Sea Of Trees’ returns to the haunting keyboard flooded sound, the slow graceful flow with the strong undertow. Closer ‘Cold Dark Comfort’ follows on before drifting into a sample of grim preaching. I assume this is Jim Jones, it being a while since I’ve heard the infamous final sermon. How you view its use is very much a personal thing.

There is a lot to like about Suicide Forest. Everything here from vocals to drums is executed with feel and eloquence. The arrangements are thoughtful and with a certain bleak grace to them. Perhaps sometimes there is little sense of travel in the songs, a repetition that whilst not aggravating is less than hypnotic. And i do feel overwhelmed by the Winterfylleth sound now and then but there is no denying this is a classy affair that certainly evokes a stillness and a sense of despair.

Potential is high, the next one is the time to step out from influences…

(7/10 Gizmo)