Forever Nothing is the kind of album that sounds like it could have been written and recorded at any point in the past twenty or so years. As with previous releases, Tenebrositas continue to take inspiration from the Scandinavian Second Wave, resulting in an almost minimalist take on black metal. Darkthrone and Burzum are the chief points of reference, with the album possessing a trance-inducing Transylvanian Hunger. The production is raw and grim, the riffs repetitive and variations kept to a minimum. As exercises in Second Wave black metal of this sort go, it ticks all the right boxes. No fun; no core; no mosh; no trends.
This is definitely the kind of album to sit and let it carry you away, rather than to dip in and out of. Taken individually, the songs largely stick to a standard formula; tremolo-picked leads and riffs take the lead, with tortured vocals arising from the depths of the production giving the songs a more ethereal, ghost-like feel. The drums pound away, not doing anything too flashy, but nor do they need to. It’s the way these elements all combine that makes Forever Nothing so worthwhile, with the subtle variations becoming more apparent as the album is listened to as a whole. The music seeps in to you, locking you in to a trance and carrying you away from your consciousness. In that sense, it achieves something comparable to what those early Burzum records did.
That’s not to say Forever Nothing is dull or boring, far from it. There are some stand-out moments, such as during “Bitter Cold Oblivion” when the song suddenly stops for a dramatic pause, before starting up again with renewed vigor; and the drum break and shift in tempo on “As Plagues Prevail” is superb, giving the song a moment of discord. But the real achievement of Forever Nothing is in how it works over its full duration, taking hold of your senses and not letting go. It exudes atmosphere, and the production is exactly what you’d want from an album so clearly steeped in the classic black metal sound. It’s not going to challenge genre conventions, but nor is it meant to.
Instead, Forever Nothing seeks to align itself with the more regressive side of black metal, sticking closely to the lessons laid down by the masters of old, and taken on these terms – as it should be – the album is a triumph. It’s an album for those times when you just want something to run through you, captivating you without it ever feeling difficult or hard work, taking you on a journey in to the darkness and refusing to let go.
Forever Nothing can be streamed and downloaded via Bandcamp.