2020’s Hierophan Violent was a strikingly individual record, one which, for some reason, I never expected a successor to. Well, I’m happy to be wrong; Black Terrain is flush with 59 minutes of new material from this exceptional act. It’s almost double the length of its predecessor, so do Forlesen make good use of this additional running time?
Of course they do. Across four colossal songs Black Terrain consolidates all of the strengths from Hierophant Violent, while also building and developing many new ones.
The music is epic, layered, and multifaceted. Doom, drone, ambient, and the occasional lashing of black metal, (primarily on Harrowed Earth), all come together under Forlesen’s exceedingly talented banner. Each song offers a landscape all of its own, and a journey that’s individual and idiosyncratic. The full album is a tapestry to be explored, with each landscape fitting together next to its partners perfectly.
The songs are melancholic and dark, displaying a fragile core surrounded by thick protective heaviness, wreaths of heartfelt emotion, and bouts of vicious catharsis born from deep pain. Forlesen are very good at channelling strongly emotive qualities into music that drips with feeling and atmosphere.
Black Terrain is immersive and hypnotic. It’s very easy to get lost in these massive tracks as they expand and develop their mood-based themes and textures. By turns detailed, delicate, raw, and harsh, Black Terrain is simultaneously beautiful and harrowing, offering a well-rounded experience that’s not soon forgotten.
Ambitious, but well-realised and delivered, Black Terrain is a superlative album that offers an entire world to the listener to absorb themselves in.