Salvaging one of my few Number of the Blog reviews that I could find.
German black metal is an interesting beast, in that a lot of it sucks, but sucks in a very endearing manner. Some of Germany’s best black metal releases are sloppy and amateur sounding, making up in effort and soul what it lacks and professionalism. But occasionally a German band comes a long that is able to buck the trend of enjoyable shittiness. Your Tha-Norrs, Lunar Auroras, and now Forgotten Spell.
Let’s start with the obvious thing: The production on this demo sucks. There’s no dancing around the issue, it just sucks. In fact, it makes Moon seem decently produced in comparison. Everything sounds buried or feels like it was recorded at a distance, with the drums heavily muffled, and the vocals barely being audible over the constant roar and screech of the guitars. The whole thing has a very dry sound, if that makes any sense (It makes my mouth feel dry; odd that music can do that). But yeah, Dimmu Borgir this ain’t.
Another thing one might notice when looking at this tape is how insanely long it is. Consisting of 9 tracks and clocking in at just under 90 minutes, Desecrated, Decayed, And Still Holy is longer than most full length albums. Two of the songs clock in at 16 minutes long, and sitting through the entire demo can be hard at times. It does require a certain patience to sit through, but if you’re looking for obscure black metal demo tapes, you’ve probably built up a tolerance to this kind of bullshit.
Anyways, let’s talk about the music (the reason why Forgotten Spell is awesome). Not gonna beat around the bush: The riffing on this demo is some of the finest riffing that I’ve heard from a black metal band in a long time (excepting the riff-masters Immortal and Inquisition). There are so many riffs on this album that it’s hard to count them all. The muddy production also has a tendency to blend many of the riffs together, so the transitions seem to happen without notice. But that’s ok, it’s part of the charm. And with riffs as awesome as these I’m not going to complain about some muddy transitions. I think my favorite riffs are the ones in ‘The Incarnation in Contemplation of the Creator’ and the title track. The album also has some pretty good melodies, but those are kind of hard to pick out over the rest of the murk and noise.
Now, this band follows the Orthodox Black Metal trend that has been making waves lately. While I find the concept of Orthodox Black Metal almost as stupid as Christian Black Metal (since Orthodox BM is based around the premise that Catholicism/Christianity is true, but the bands have chosen to venerate Satan rather than God. It differs from your typical Satanic stuff in that it treats God and Satan as real beings rather than symbolic icons (or just being Satanic because that’s what black metal bands do)), there are some Orthodox bands I like. But overall I’m kind of meh on the whole movement. Forgotten Spell reveals the true potential of the scene, managing to create and maintain an atmosphere of evil and obscurity much better than certain other bands that shall go unnamed.
In summation, if you want to hear some German black metal at its finest, than I highly recommend Desecrated, Decayed, And Still Holy as it is far superior to many many full length albums.