Monday 6 March 2017

Forming The Void - Relic (Album Review)

Release date: March 17th 2017. Label: Argonauta Records (CD) / Black Bow Records (DD). Format: CD/DD

Relic – Tracklisting

1.After Earth
2.The Endless Road
5.The Witch
7.Unto the Smoke

Band Members

James Marshall – guitar/vocals,
Shadi Omar Al-Khansa- guitar
Luke Baker – bass,
Jordan Boyd - drums


Don't know if things happen for a reason, or if they just happen. What I mean is, since I write music reviews, what if I had encountered Forming The Void when they released their self-titled debut EP in 2014? Or when their first full-length, 'Skyward', came out a year later, and I hadn't liked either one? That means I most likely would have discarded 'Relic', their brand new sophomore album, immediately. As it happens, I had never heard of the band until 'Relic' and as a consequence, which I am eternally grateful for, yours truly listened as one of this decade's best albums opened up before me.

Exquisite, thought-provoking, challenging, soothing for the soul and extremely sweet on the ears...I could go on and on with superlatives but that would be too easy, right? Maybe not, but man, 'Relic' just takes me away to a place where I feel fantastic. Whether it's in the Neurosis drone and trippiness and shamanistic qualities of My Sleeping Karma in opener 'After Earth'; whether it's the feel of Baroness on speed in 'Biolazar' or the smoked out, mesmerizing, lurching and crawling state of being that is the amazing 'Unto The Smoke'. Who knows. What I do know is that the entity that 'Relic' is is something other-worldly, something unique and much desired.

This is one of those albums where everything counts, where each word, guitar lick, riff, bass line and drum roll fills an important part. To say Forming The Void has set the bar high is obviously an understatement. Still, there are songs that stand out more than the others, not that the unmentioned are bad. Hell no! Like I said earlier, this is one of this decade's best albums which means there's nothing bad on here. Regardless, one of the most complete songs on 'Relic' is 'The Witch'. This composition contains pieces, moods and references to the entire album and to let it end this amazing wax is a stroke of genius. Tying all that this album is into one composition and put in the end gives the perfect closure, if you ask me.

One thing that caught me really off guard, apart from the whole album, is the inclusion of Led Zeppelin's master piece, 'Kashmir'. It took me until the third spin before I truly realized which song it was, even though snippets of the Zepp's kept shining through. What Forming The Void has done here is, in my humble opinion, how you approach a cover. Keep enough of it to recognize the original but at the same time try to make it your own. And that's exactly what these guys have done. This is even further enhanced since it took me so long to figure out what was going on. Don't care if you dislike Led Zeppelin because Forming The Void has created a monster in their own right. So listen, soak it up and go bonkers!

Alright, if more bands listened and learned from this Lafayette, LA-quartet, the music world as we know it would be so much better than it is at the moment. I'm not talking about copying, not at all. I'm talking about doing whatever you want to do. If you apply that mentality to creating music there won't be any limits at all. Forming The Void are the purveyors, the pioneers and the groundbreakers. And take heed, because these guys will one day rule the world!

Words by Håkan Nyman

Thanks to Richard at Sheltered Life PR for the promo. Relic will be available to buy on CD from Argonauta Records and DD from Black Bow Records on March 17th 2017.