PICK OF THE WEEK: Fórn’s muddy darkness, despair spread wings over punishing ‘Rites of Despair’

If you’ve read this site for any length of time, you’re probably aware that music resonates in these parts that tackles personal darkness and struggles. We all go through them, us included, and it’s very easy to get buried under too much debris, unable to climb out for air or try to avoid overwhelming pressures. Those issues often darken other areas of our lives, making a lot of what goes on tougher to handle.

Just a single visit with Fórn’s second full-length album “Rites of Despair” lets you in on the suffering and pain that are packed into these songs. This effort is broken into two acts—“Depersonalization” and “Derealization”—and the 11 tracks spread over 66 minutes examine issues such as isolation, depression, abandonment, and dangerous bouts of self-discovery. It’s an album that digs deep into tumult, gets right inside the sensitive parts of the heart and mind, and lays all of that mayhem on the line for all to see. The band’s brand of pummeling but atmospheric sludge and doom makes these topics feel even heavier than they normally would mentally, and their delivery gets inside of you and devastates you. The band—vocalist Chris Pinto, guitarists Danny Boyd and Joey Gonzalez, bassist Brian Barbaruolo, and drummer Christian Donaldson—and joined on this mammoth record by guests including vocalist Lane Oshi, Jessica Way (Worm Ouroboros, Barren Harvest), Madalynn Collura, and Alec Rodriguez (Lesser Glow, the Proselyte) to add more texture and personality to a record already flooding with emotion.

“涂地” starts the record with spacey synth, Oshi singing amid the foggy night, adding her soulful notes to an eerie passage. “Manifestations of the Divine Root” opens as pummeling doom, with the pace lurching, and the growls corroding like acid. Melodies lap along a thick bassline, and then warm guitars wash away the blood, leading into a deathrock-style corner. The track bursts again, with the guitars chewing everything to bits. “Cosmic Desolation” starts with cold guitars, whispers in the air, and a steady pounding that ushers in sorrowful melodies. The pace gets gritty and bloody, while guitars wash over and cool the heat before another bludgeoning arrives. Colorful playing and violence mix, while the guitars thicken, and the song races to its finish. “Ego Desecration” is quiet and clean with Collura’s singing haunting, making it feel like you’re navigating a fever dream from which you can’t seem to break. “(Altar of) Moss, Lichen & Blood” has a clean start before a swaggering riff strikes, and things manage to get tougher and more monstrous. The riffs reek of doom, while the essence of meanness grows, growls scrape, and following a brief calm, the leads explode and pile up filth a mile high. “Ritual Ascension Through a Weeping Soul” has guitars flowing and sadness flowing deeply, as the vocals shred the senses, and misery packs on the pressure. The track drags its damaged body across the earth, as melody gushes thick dark oil, the band hammers away savagely, and the song ends up in cavernous hell.

“Auraboros” is an instrumental track built on Western-sounding guitar moans, as the music simmers in the air and floats off into “Scrying Below the Wolf Moon” and its sinister, threatening guitar work. The elodies that rush are full of mourning, while the vocals do instant damage, and the doom strains squeal in agony. The track then freezes in its steps, while the band lets the song slowly trickle its blood into a stream before one more all-out assault. The drums bash in brains, while sorrow gushes, and everything ends in a nasty fury. “The Ancient Wisdom of Sorrow” crushes right away, as the vocals slice through bones, and the track itself hulks up and prepare for battle. The soloing weeps before filthy playing arrives and mars everything, and then the growls register more blows as the song heads into the dirt. Damaging noise, a slowly delivered epitaph, and a blood-smeared view of the horizon are all that’s left at the final gate. “A Transmutation” is a quick instrumental comprised of quiet guitars and whispers, while Way’s singing gets inside of you and turns you into a ghost. That all leads to final cut “Subconscious Invocations” that starts gently enough, as it works its way out of a thick mist, and then a deluge of melodic doom strikes and buries souls underneath. Way’s voice once again soars, an amber beacon among smoke and carnage, while the track slowly builds its way to a crescendo. The soloing spills blood, the intensity reaches a critical mass, and everything finally gives way, ending its reign in a creaky, warbling panic.

Fórn embody the psychological torment and torture many of us deal with and endure over a lifetime, and “Rites of Despair” is a record that collects all of that chaos and spreads it into a massive, devastating document. This is an album that may take a few visits to fully absorb as a whole, but once it hits you, it leaves you a blistered mess. This is a dark album, one that follows a tumultuous period for the band and one that hopefully acts as catharsis for them, as well as their audience.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/Forndoom/

To buy the album, go here: https://gileadmedia.net/collections/pre-orders

For more on the label, go here: https://gileadmedia.net/

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