Suicide Forest sparks blazes of resentment, isolation on fiery, earth-smothering ‘Reluctantly’

Suicide Forest in a live setting (Source: band Facebook)

It’s easy to feel isolated and totally alone in this current environment. But it’s not like this is a new phenomenon. It’s just that more people are feeling this now and coming to an understanding of what depression actually feels like. Many of those people will move on and never think of it again after this pandemic. For others, it’ll never end.

Multi-instrumentalist A. Kruger examined these things when putting together the second Suicide Forest record “Reluctantly,” a collection that hovers on resentment and isolation, which only got worse the past year. The creation of the music preceded the pandemic, though the creation came during it, and all those dark tidings get underneath your skin and into your psyche. The music is rich and atmospheric but also relentlessly suffocating, pushing you to confront the shadows and what lurks inside of them. Another way to look at it is the music also can be a sort of companion for your difficult journeys, a strange hand from beyond that shows you your suffering is not exclusive to you and a part of others’ tribulations as well.

The title track gets things going, a 9:42-long crusher that starts with sheets of sound and synth before shrieks wrench, and the misery rains down in thick sheets. Fog spreads as wrenching hell stretches itself out, the vocals knife through the veil of night, and everything rushes, filling your senses. Desperate wails call out as the music floats and haunts, dissolving as it drips away. “As the Light Fades Pt 1” pummels as it starts with the vocals pushing flesh and the pace hammering in a bout of madness. The guitars go off as the soloing surges, and a delirious pace lands and scrambles brains. The playing storms heavily, saturating the ground, as the shrieks batter heavily, piling layers on top and adding to the pressure. Guitars spiral and dizzy, increasing the grip before finally relenting.  

“Remorse” is an instrumental track with mournful guitar parts, the playing boiling, and the spirit hovering over like a dark cloud, bleeding into “Trembling in Emptiness” that starts with a relentless synth gaze that rises and covers land. The track eventually unloads and batters with great power as the keys add a glaze, and the tempo rushes hard. Eerie passages chill the flesh as the playing trudges, and the shrieks destroy. The drumming kicks in and knocks out some teeth while the vocals dig in their claws anew, and everything gathers and blasts toward the gates as things come to a merciful end. “As the Light Fades Pt. 2” ends the record by slowing dripping in, taking time to establish an ambiance before everything comes apart about 2:30 into the thing. Shrieks blast and the playing keeps adding to the intensity, bringing a huge deluge that jolts your emotions. The storm hangs in place, doing ample damage below while the violence starts to ease into serenity, speaking lurks, and everything disappears into echo.

While there is some light at the end of this seemingly endless tunnel, the issues brought forth on “Reluctantly” are not likely to just go away for a lot of people once they have a duo of injections in their arms. Suicide Forest touch upon woes that tend to be long standing and deeply seeded in one’s brain, and this music uncovers what that feels like and how overwhelming it can be. On top of that, this is a blistering, sobering record that sounds like it’s taking you on a journey through the atmosphere even as you feel at your lowest and loneliest.

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