The metal genre is particularly unforgiving when it comes to sweeping bands under the rug after they’re no longer “relevant,” (e.g. they haven’t released an album a few years). This is a shame, because some really excellent works end up being totally forgotten about in less than a decade. In this week’s Retrospective we’ll take a look at an album that was horrifically underrated and practically forgotten: The Foreshadowing‘s debut Days of Nothing. It’s a brilliant goth/doom album, and nearly eight years after its release, it still holds up beautifully.
I first encountered The Foreshadowing early in college (freshman year, specifically, so 2007-08) due to my discovery that following record labels’ websites was a brilliant way to find new bands. (I also didn’t even have broadband internet until college, so this was a totally electrifying new world.) Candlelight Records was one of my favorite labels at the time—it was releasing albums from 1349, Emperor reissues, Blut Aus Nord, and Daylight Dies—and The Foreshadowing was one of its new signings, depicted as morose goth/doom for fans of Katatonia and Type O Negative. “Eschaton” was released as a promo single and I was automatically hooked; I bought the album that same day and fell in love. And while I may be showing my age with this, it was in constant rotation on my Zune (still a proud owner) during fall and winter sessions.
Comparisons to Katatonia and (early) My Dying Bride are not unwarranted, but what sticks out about Days of Nothing is the intricately entwined guitar melodies, strong atmosphere, and accessible songwriting that put The Foreshadowing in a league of their own. Vocalist Marco Benevento’s strong baritone voice is a focal point of the album, and his layering of harmonies, almost choral at some points, has the sensibilities of acts like Depeche Mode more than Katatonia. For the majority of its running time, Days of Nothing makes the aggression of metal take a backseat to atmosphere and huge keyboard arrangements while never sacrificing focus on its beautifully-crafted melodic lead guitars that take the “weeping” sound of My Dying Bride to another level. “Departure” is the best demonstrator of this as it smoothly glides from a driving, rhythmic chorus to a sparse, piano-based verse. Marco’s voice perfectly expresses the grief-plagued lyrics, and the song concludes with a dense, impenetrable wall of guitar harmonies that crushes listeners under its gloom. The crazy thing? The song is short enough to get radio play; it’s barely over 4 minutes. The Foreshadowing, as evidenced by their other two albums that followed Days of Nothing, are experts at conjuring heavy emotions within a very short window of time, and this is one of several factors that has made Days of Nothing one of my favorite goth/doom albums of the past decade.
While the band’s more fragile moments are some of the most memorable, Days of Nothing is still undisputedly a doom metal album, as evidenced by the crushing moroseness of “Eschaton” and “Ladykiller,” the latter of which could have probably been a Depeche Mode song if not for its funeral bells and towering guitar parts. The title track, however, is the ultimate highlight of the album, with the drums changing constantly while the guitars trudge onward with chiming clean arpeggios and sanguine melodies while the keyboards create a cold wall of ambience underneath all of the intricate rhythm work. For the entirety of its running time, Days of Nothing is a display of equal parts beauty and doom, and frankly, the fact that people forgot The Foreshadowing existed after this album’s release is a little heartbreaking.
Maybe I’m biased because Days of Nothing was the soundtrack during some difficult times in my late teens/early 20s; nostalgia and emotional connotations removed, however, Days of Nothing is an album that is still criminally underrated even its respective niche in goth/doom metal. The Foreshadowing have put out two albums since their debut—neither of which seemed to garner the same attention but were no less brilliant—and have been silent for a few years now, so it’s hard telling if there will be any new work. In the meanwhile, though, we can always reflect back on the overlooked greatness that is Days of Nothing.