Courtesy of Forest of Tygers
Forest of Tygers, a Tennessee-based metal band, recently released their first full-length album, I Will Die of Violence.
The band, a husband and wife duo, is self-described as “manic, epic, dark, blackened, genre-bending metal from Nashville, USA.” Prior to this release, the artists’ Bandcamp website consisted of two single tracks and a four-song mini album.
Their newest release is both a raw emotional power trip and a masterclass in technical ability, with a catch. When they do it right, Forest of Tygers artfully uses increasingly complex math metal motifs to seamlessly transition into full-on doom. Unfortunately, only about half of the tracks on the album succeed in this way.
I Will Die of Violence is less “genre-bending” and more genre transient. The two most pronounced sounds in the album are math rock and doom, with sludge making a welcome appearance on more than a few tracks. This is an incredibly ambitious thing to even attempt. Math and doom are two genres on opposite ends of the rock spectrum both technically and emotionally. Managing to do it well even half the time is an incredible feat worth hearing.
For the tracks on the album that work as intended, the duo takes the traditional key signature and rhythm subversion that defines the math rock genre and takes it to its full extremes, adding more and more intentionally-crafted layers as often as they can get away with. The tracks build in pressure, giving a pleasurable sense of anxiety until the song is so complex it throws a tantrum. This is especially notable in the album’s title track, where the syncopated eighths and leading waltz rhythms melt into blackened sludge before you even have time to notice.
For the less successful songs on the album, the quality is still present for both the method and the madness, they just struggle to remain a single cohesive piece. The transitions between the two genres are jarring, and not in a good way. It’s the music equivalent of a bad jump cut in a great film. The moments before are just as good as the moments after, but the quick and unsettling change breaks immersion.
The worst tracks on the album are as hard to lose yourself in as the best ones are hard not to.
Overall, Forest of Tygers doesn’t always do a fantastic job of melding the formulaic complexity of math metal with the raw emotion and chaos of doom, but when they do, it’s an absolute experience. I’d recommend this album not just to fans of the indie scene, but also to fans of Tool and Mushroomhead looking to explore the less-than-mainstream. There’s a lot of good here, and it’s definitely worth your time.
The album releases November 8 and can also be preordered from forestoftygers.bandcamp.com as either a digital copy for $7 or on vinyl $20.