Lafayette, Louisiana might only be 150 miles from New Orleans, but native sons Forming the Void are much further removed from the NOLA sludge metal of Eyehategod or Crowbar. Their 2017 record Relic reminded me of a cross between Torche and Sleep, with a side of early Mastodon, and landed on my year-end top 10 list last year. Suffice to say I’m quite looking forward to their third full-length effort.
“Extinction Event” kicks things off with a slow, lumbering heavy riff and a grungy vocal before taking a mellow detour about a minute in. From there, they come back heavier and grittier, with shades of Kylesa. So far, we’re not off to a bad start. I love the winding riff that opens “On We Sail”—Kirk Windstein would probably dig it too. But instead of slow ‘n gloomy sludge, we get the lighter, airier variety, driven by soaring vocals.
“Arcane Mystic” is spacier than its two predecessors, with an eerie organ line adding some atmosphere. Again, the approach here is much closer to Savannah, GA than NOLA—fans of Kylesa, Zoroaster, etc will dig it. The vocals seemingly soar even higher on this song. The six-minute “Transient” has a similarly spacey vibe, but an even heavier riff—and I think this song really benefits from clearly intelligible vocals that add a little more feeling than the throaty sludge growls. I’m getting a bit of a Big Business vibe on here, too.
The seven-minute “Ark Debris” actually throws some bagpipes into the mix, adding an eerie air to some otherwise subdued verses before the first heavy riff hits past the three-minute mark. “Shrine” extends things even further, ending the album on an 11-minute epic note. This one wastes little time in getting down to the heavy, however—it’s a pretty good number to nod yer head to.