Virginia's FORETOKEN formed in 2018 and 'Triumphs' is their second full length release.  The band's […]
Foretoken - Triumphs album cover

Virginia's FORETOKEN formed in 2018 and 'Triumphs' is their second full length release.  The band's style is a melting pot of genres and ideas.  Among the eight track original tracks (last track is a kick ass cover of a NAGLFAR song), the band melds in folk, symphonic, black, death and melodeath into one of the more cohesive experiences I've heard this year. I will preface this review by saying the production is so good that it's too good-the songs could definitely use more bite and grit, especially in the guitars.  Having the mighty Hannes Grossmann provide drums for them once again certainly gives the band a stalwart foundation and rhythm punch but the other instruments sound too clean.

With that being said, the song writing is impeccable.  Despite their constant melding of genres and ideas that are consistently exploding forth, the music never sounds disjointed or messing.  Everything is clear, concise, from beginning to end. It helps that every element they use is never used for anything other than to compliment the arrangement before and after.  Not one style or soundscape (such as keys) is ever overused.  In essence, everything works together for the benefit of everything else.  Oh and did I mention the album is a straight up banger?

The album opens with 'Revenant of Valor,' its folk instrumentation and sweeping keys that explode into blackened fury within seconds. Hannes is an absolute madman and always ensures the band remains heavy and tight.  The riffs, bass, and keys work in tandem to create a melodic wall of sound that is still rock hard.  The rapid, melodic riffs rip through the song, pulling the extreme vocals with alongside.  The playful keys of the song's later half highlight the rest of the song.  As the drums punish, a couple of ripping solos rise out of the melodic death before it ends in a more blackened/death approach that is all speed and force.

'The Wraith That Keeps,' has dense riffs that dig deep and robust double bass. Despite the death metal infused approach here, the keys lend the song a very open feel. As the song progressive ever forward, a blackened death mixture takes over the song. Dan is one hell of a vocalist and he spearheads with deadly force. A little over half way, clean guitar comes out of the onslaught for a folk little set of notes before the lead guitar lunches into a biting but melodic solo. 'Serpent Kings Venom' is engrossing from the very start. The tone of the riffs is deadly and I'm pretty sure I heard violin or the fiddle ripping alongside it.  The groovy tempo of the song is catchy and gets thrashy here and there, especially near the end when the drums up the tempo before a clever guitar solo weaves its way on and out of the hard going rhythm.

"His Riastrad," is one of my favorites on the album. The black metal is massive  and wild but the band just makes it sound so....smooth and approachable. Few albums I've heard in this first quarter of the year flow as well as this one.  I know it's nothing but easy but this band makes it seem so. Not even forty seconds into the song and a colorful solo bursts out of the gate.  It gets more melodic as it goes but the rhythm ramps up and by the time a minute and half passes, the song is firing on all cylinders. Cover notwithstanding, 'A Tyrant Rises as Titans Fall' is the final track and ends the album strongly.  The clean intro is nearly divine.  Among the hard driving segments, guitar solos are peppered throughout to add flavor and excitement.  A key/ambient passage around the three minute provides a brief respite and is placed well to break up the song's longer length.

All in all, FORETOKEN have released a hugely impressive metal album that has so much going on, so much detail, but it is always a well composed, heavy, interesting and fun ride.

9 / 10

Almost Perfect








"Triumphs" Track-listing:

1. Revenant of Valor
2. Demon Queller
3. The Wraith That Weeps
4. The Labors
5. Serpent King's Venom
6. His Riastrad
7. Devil of the Sea
8. A Tyrant Rises as Titans Fall
9. I Am Vengeance

Foretoken Lineup:

Steve Redmond - Guitars, Orchestrations
Dan Cooley - Vocals
Hannes Grossmann - Drums (session)

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