~reviewed by Dibrom
Hybernation, the latest album from Dimmu Borg... umm, wait, this is a Forlorn release? Apparently so. It seems as though, in the current sweep of Metal bands abandoning their previous styles in favor of adopting a rigidly formulaic approach and following in the footsteps of Dimmu Borgir, Forlorn is now the latest convert. Joy.
Why Forlorn decided to drop their previous Folkish/Viking-esque leanings in exchange for what is present on Hybernation, is beyond me. Perhaps they thought that people would respect them more for ripping off the likes of Dimmu Borgir's Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia than actually coming up with something a little more original of their own. While none of Forlorn's previous albums have ever really been that exceptional,they at least had their own thing going for them back then.
To be honest, there's not a whole lot worth saying about the actual music on the album if you're already familiar with the style I've been discussing. The vocals sound like they could have come straight from Shagrath of Dimmu Borgir. The riffs and the synth work definitely share in the attempted eloquent, luminously, and foreboding "evilness" that Dimmu Borgir has perfected, but which often comes out as sounding almost laughable these days. The drumming style fits the part pretty well too, excepting Nick Barker's special touch; fortunately, the nuances of talent driven style cannot be so easily replicated. There are a few very brief moments of creativity and even inklings of their older style present, but for the most part they stick with "the formula."
Ironically, probably the most damning attributes of this album as to Forlorn's "newfound" style, are the art, lyrics, and song titles moreso than the music. One look at the cliched front and back cover images -- the band members clad in "high tech" black leather overlayed upon a greenish background -- definitely promotes a memory or two of Dimmu's Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia photo shoots. Song titles like "Stigmata Damnation", and "Agony Defiled", surely reflect Forlorn's utterly depraved and brutal "evilness" on this album. And, of course, Napalm's ubiquitous scantily clad woman is present here too, presumably to increase the appeal of Forlorn's album beyond that of the would-be sole offense in their imitation of now quite trendy styles.
It's rather unclear whether or not this release is in attempt to shamelessly sell more albums and increase popularity at the expense of their artistic integrity, or if Forlorn honestly thinks they will be more respected by following in Dimmu's footsteps. As far as I'm concerned, either possibility is equally lame. Should you buy this album? I'd say, if you're actually interested in this style, save your money and buy the real thing. Otherwise you might decide to support some bands with a little more originality behind their works.