The Lord - Forest Nocturne

26 Jun 2022 - Thorsten

Horror Soundtrack, Noise Rock, Drone, Doom | Southern Lord Recordings | Release date: 23 Apr 2022 | Favorite song: Church of Herrmann

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When choosing not to use perfect pre-released singles with Robin Wattie (Big ǀ Brave) and William DuVall (Blast, Alice in Chains) one must be really confident in his other songs. Greg Anderson aka The Lord surely is – and he has every right to be as the full-length debut Forest Nocturne turns out to be a highly emotive, fully enclosed universe full of soundtrack-like density, Carpenter-esque horror and songs to be afraid of. Or to be afraid of missing. Or both.

”Needle Cast” with Robin and ”We Who Walk in Light” with William were released within six weeks from each other and one thought one had a certain notion of where Greg’s solo record would be headed, a sense of what he might bring and in which way it would be different from Sunn O))). Roughly seven months later The Lord released a record that was very different from what we had heard and yet – it was perfectly Greg Anderson.

This record is not based on Drone or Doom but is largely influenced by movie soundtracks from John Carpenter to Manfredini, from Hermann to Morricone, from Carlos and Elkind to Renizetti – so basically by the old masters. And thus one witnesses those menacing songs which emanate danger with every chord, with every sample and also with every song title. ”THEME” or ”Lefthand Lullaby I” & ”Lefthand Lullabye II” also confirm that they were written for an OST and even in which context or image they were used. In that sense these songs seem to be much more concrete than the abstract tracks of his main band. Most songs are able to give us an image like empty baby-blue rooms with self-turning children’s mobiles over empty cradles or big derelict churches in the middle vast forests devoid of any human intervention. Each is a sign of desolation and isolation. One track that is a kind of standout is the second one, ”Church of Herrmann” with its organ intro and then slowly creeping-up drone in the background. It might remind the listener of the collaboration with Anna von Hauswolff which was also audible on the last live record recorded at the legendary Peel Studios in London for BBC (find our review here). This is the Lord’s mass.

Nevertheless, there is also a turning-point in the record in the sense that the last three tracks as the last three tracks are somewhat different from the others but isn’t that also story-wise a possibility? The tracks towards the end, the “solution”, however (un)satisfactory it might be, are usually quite different to the ones before the climax. ”Deciduous”, “Old Growth” & “Triumph of the Oak”, form a formidable ambient-drone triumvirate with each track becoming a bit louder, a bit more complex and bit more scratchy and noisey. ”Triumph of the Oak” is then also the only track that features real vocals and it is none other than Attila Csihar who has been a long-time companion of Anderson and his partner in drone, Stephen O’Malley. Here we witness, a very industrial blackened drone track with itching and poisonous hissing vocals by Csihar. It’s like the revelation of which demon has taken hold of the victim.

We witness a Greg Anderson who simply does what he has been wanting to do for a very long time, who composed a soundtrack but didn’t let go of his musical origins. Uncompromising, haunting, beautiful, poisonous and always: fitting, supporting and underlining. This is the OST to your next nightly Blair Witch adventure in the lonely woods or the music to your nocturnal stroll in the urban jungle – with that ever-watchful eye right behind your back which makes your hair stand on end and which gives you the chills down your spine. The reason being the images in your mind and the music that accompanies them. For quite a while that music could be Forest Nocturne!

PS: And for later this year we will also get a collaboration record by The Lord. Well, let’s see…