Suicide Forest – Suicide Forest

Rating: 3.5/5
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Released: 2019
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Band line-up:

A.Kruger- All instruments/production


1. Kingdom of Solitude
2. Auto-immolation
3. Longing for Nothingness
4. Baptized in Pools of Despondency
5. Sea of Trees
6. Cold Dark Comfort


Suicide Forest is a depressive black metal band on the Avantgarde Music label and it will be releasing its self-titled debut album on 6th July. It is the artistic outcome of Austin Kruger, a 24 year old multi-instrumentalist from Arizona. Fitting to the dark moods he creates, he got his band name from the famous 35 square kilometre forest in Japan also known as ‘the Sea of Trees’, which after the Golden Gate Bridge, is the most popular place in world for people to commit suicide.

Often music this repetitive gets dull fast, but the way the rusty and bleak distorted guitars combine with the ethereal and spooky synths is rather addictive. Like hot pudding mixed with contrasting ice cream you could say. (But in an aggressive way). That’s a relief, considering the fact four songs are around ten minutes long. That’s not to say there isn’t much variety in this release, because there is, the ideas just get milked to death as many will want. The song ‘Kingdom of Solitude’ features fascinating and morbid clean guitars that take you by surprise. ‘Baptized in Pools of Despondency’ is a piano piece that is rather sad and thoughtful. It would genuinely make a great soundtrack to a powerful drama film. 

SF hasn’t exactly reinvented the wheel with its material, but judging by its frequent mournful tone, the band seems to be respectfully paying tribute to those who take their lives, rather than celebrating death and all things unholy. Because of the sometimes dark majesty of the harmony, one might get the impression of a soul reaching the afterlife. Those very subtle emotional differences are kind of interesting for this form of music. The riffs, keys, blast beats and screams on the other hand are highly cliched, but hardened black metal fans with be used to music that is far less ambitious.

In conclusion, this is well written and mostly epic stuff, but it could still do with being more original. SF could be thought of as a cross between BM legends Drudkh (though a somewhat simplified version) and the atmospheric doom band Shape of Despair. (When Mr. Kruger plays his metal slower, that is). SF is quite raw and therefore will appeal to the more old school extreme metal fans, and whilst demonic is very human. However, even though there is some instrumental experimentation, it could have been taken further. All in all, a strong release that will please many!

Review by Simon Wiedemann