“A Forgotten Land” is an expansive foray into already charted regions of the metal world. It’s an album that shows just how a band does not need to display innovation or experimentation in order to make a successful record. Encircling Sea’s success slowly ebbs into the listener, ensuring that this journey into the known is full of twists and gentle turns. Encircling Sea’s “A Forgotten Land” isn’t all that much of an accessible metal record. Blending post rock aesthetics with atmospheric drones does tend to leave the listener wanting more but it’s the album’s overall subtlety that brings out even the most minimalistic features and makes them shine through the murky aesthetics of the black metal genre. It’s not every day that a post metal act will be able to engage the listener throughout their often lengthy run time, in which “A Forgotten Land” fits the stigma. This is an album that builds on itself, thus turning into so much more than ‘just another post metal album’.
What’s so great about “A Forgotten Land” is its ability to be so pure of thought. The album is not hindered by frilly interludes, over the top dramatics and when other influences are included in the mix, it aids the final product. This presents some warm undertones to Encircling Sea’s music without throwing it in the listeners face. Female led croons contrasted with deep forceful screams, accented by the orchestral violin – the soundscapes clash and then come together with a grace unlike most similar acts. It’s fair to say that there isn’t too much going on this release, but it’s the overall simplicity of Encircling Sea’s music that gives life to the crescendos and decrescendos.
Overall, “A Forgotten Land” is everything it needs to be and simply, nothing more. Given the chance, the album will actually grow on you; the atmospheric drive that pushes the record along becomes more and more accessible and easier to listen to. It’s like the final pieces of the puzzle right before you’re finished. You know what the end result is going to be but you miss out on those small details until those last few pieces are placed in the right spots. The run time of the album’s tracks might be a turn off to some but to those who have the patience to be swallowed whole by this decadent landscape, the effect is truly rewarding. Encircling Sea are a band to be on the lookout for, maybe one day in the near future they may be able to build on what they already have and achieve that undeniably classic status that the band has potential to achieve. Pick this up, it’s more than worth a listen.