ALBUM REVIEW: Departed by Forever Grey

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WRITTEN BY: Vince Barreras

Los Angeles based darkwave group Forever Grey just released their newest record on Young & Cold Records, the German based label. Kevin Czarnik and Samantha Kubiak return to the project to bring more dark wave/cold wave influence back into this eight song LP. The members have been busy at work with other projects such as Milliken Chamber, Prudence, and Belladonna Grave. This record is such a welcomed piece into the darkwave genre and really attempts to put the project up with all the current great artists within the genre and succeeds without questions. Each track with its dark instrumentation, doomy vocals, and overall atmosphere can be enjoyed by seasoned veterans of the genre, but also someone looking to expand their musical pallets. 

Forever Grey has a sound that was inspired by eighties goth and post punk music. They combine drum machines, really dark and introspective lyrics, and also a driving bass. Forever Grey presents an image that artists like Joy Division and The Sisters of Mercy were able to capture back during the 80s, however, the band is able to make this sound their own, and make it sound fresh and contemporary. There are no filter tracks on this album either, each song is just as great as the last. 

“Alone” opens up with an upbeat drum machine and a really fat bassline that sounds cold and desolate but is able to capture a really dark mood that is set for the entire record. The vocals are dramatic, but also incredibly grand. They blend into the mix to create an experience for the listener to get sucked into. A more low key and somber track, “Labor of Death” combines similar elements but brings the mood down to a stalemate. Its enjoyable in that it keeps a nice evened flow throughout but isn’t as upbeat and dancy as the following track, “Common Coffin.” With a drum and synth combination that creates a dance beat and other types of live instrumentation, this track will wake the listener up. “Downpour” is more of an amalgamation of the previous tracks. Its dark, gloomy, low key, but has an infectious back beat to it that’s both enjoyable and deep. 

“Seasons” brings more of a cold wave element into the fray that is both welcomed and helps the group explore different sounds and really begin to experiment with tone and atmosphere. Some of the best aspects are the different electronic and also industrial influenced songs that help bring out that chorus heavy bass and vocal. “Nothing,” with its really adventurous instrumentation, and driving drum machine keeps the energy going. “Lost in the Moment” is the first song sung by Kubiak, who shares time with Czarnik on vocals. It creates a nice diversity with the changing vocals throughout the song. Kubiak creates such lush vocal tones that sound really pleasant with the dark instrumentation backdrop. “Open Grave” concludes the record in the most fitting way possible. A slow burner that’s heavy on atmosphere, loud echoey snare drum, and also a mesh of guitar and bass that compliments the dark wave aesthetic. 

Forever Grey were able to put together eight tracks of pure darkwave tunes that are both enjoyable, and addictive. They combine the perfect amount of atmosphere, nice instrumentation, and overall catchy songs that fit so well together. The slower ones are nice to hear and give a different mood that transition perfectly into the more upbeat and dance inspired ones that could be played in a club, or anywhere. The most pleasant aspect of this record however is the fact that it doesn’t mind wearing its influence on its sleeve, but at the same time doesn’t copy old ideas. It takes inspiration from classic 80s goth/post punk bands but turns them into fresh and creative avenues. This record is a must, and a really nice piece to anyone’s darkwave playlist. 

For fans of: as Milliken Chamber, Prudence, and Belladonna Grave.

Track Listing:

Side A:

  1. Alone
  2. Labor of Death
  3. Common Coffin
  4. Downpour

Side B:

  1. Seasons
  2. Nothing
  3. Lost In A Moment
  4. Open Grave

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