The Foreshadowing’s Oionos was originally released in April of 2010, landing the Italian doom metal outfit in a storm of critical praise. Thanks to Metal Blade Records, the album is seeing issue in North America (again?) and surfaces just as Second World (review forthcoming) takes to the air.
The Foreshadowing originated in 2005, with guitarist Alessandro Pace, guitarist Andrea Chiodett, keyboardist Francesco Sosto, drummer Jonah Padella, bassist Davide Pesola, and vocalist Marco Benevento entering the fold. Their first record was 2006’s Days of Nothing, the opening volley in what would become an apocalyptic revelation coursing through consequent releases.
Oionos is the second entry, broadening the despondency through 11 tracks of doom and gothic metal. The Foreshadowing sounds mammoth and sludgy, abstaining from much by way of change and clinging to the gloom like voracious bats. This approach is sustaining in terms of the desolate deluge, but it doesn’t open many innovative doors and there isn’t much variety.
Benevento’s vocals are submerged under the hedge of guitars, bass and drums. They can be difficult to make out, which adds to the murky mystique but also makes this a record of emotion more than a record of intellect and ingenuity. Oionos washes over the listener like obscure, tiptoeing ambient music, but when the smog lifts there isn’t much to consider.
The album opens on a militaristic bent (“The Dawning”) with Padella’s march-like drums. Other instruments join, setting the atmosphere and the clouds close off any shards of light. The doom takes hold and power chords grind away while Benevento skulks like a vampire that in no way, shape or form glitters when he sees sunshine. He melts.
The Foreshadowing wisely uses keyboards and some ambient tools at times, breaking up the crush of repetitive chording with a flourish of texture that frames things in a better “light.” And some pieces really do build from more interesting soil, like the ethereal “Soliloquium” interlude with its broken chords and splashes of distressing, chant-like noise.
The abovementioned interlude figures into “Lost Humanity,” perhaps the record’s most potent number. Padella’s drums press with the rest of the band, creating a well-paced squall until the push for power plunges them underwater.
Also of note is a colourless cover of Sting’s “Russians.” Sosto’s keys incite last rites and The Foreshadowing comes as close to playing through a dense tune as possible, with Benevento’s vocals almost wholly audible in the mix. It’s a sufficient cover.
Oionos is a mighty block of doom that weighs severely when it’s present but disintegrates fast when it fades. The Foreshadowing’s sinister sense of things is taxing, especially when the reckoning is slight. With Second World in the wind, one can only hope that there’s more than monotonous night to be had.