Louisiana based quartet, Forming the Void, has had a busy few years since its inception in 2013. Rift marks the fourth release from the band in almost as many years, and finds the band maintaining their psychedelic doom-laden sludge persona with a few promising deviations. Largely more aggressive in its sound than the band’s prior release, Relic, the songs on Rift are something of a step back for the group in terms of complexity, but they are nonetheless well imbued with a massive and well produced sound.
The album opens with “Extinction Event” which is a rather straightforward piece featuring a crushing main riff that leads elegantly into brooding, atmospheric moments. Not entirely compelling but still well deserving of a few good listens. “On We Sail” maintains a catchy, if not monotonous, riff that gets in your head and stays there. The vocals on this track are massive, resembling the style of Baroness, and suit the cosmic adventure the lyrics seem to encourage. A standout track that features its own music video that is pretty damn funny.
Slipping eerily into a muddy wash is the challenging “Arcane Mystic”. Dread grows like well-watered moss on sections of this cookie cruncher. The song doesn’t really go much of anywhere throughout its five minute run but the mind-warping lyrics are a lot of fun. “Transient” finds the band descending into something more atmospheric and nuanced than the prior tracks on the record. There’s a groove that permeates the song in both the heavy and softer sections. The shimmering psychedelia combined with a shuddering dismount really help this song stick the landing. A favorite of mine for sure.
“Arrival” injects some much needed energy into the record, oscillating between tasty licks and an exploratory plodding beneath majestic vocal arrangements. The penultimate “Ark Debris” is rather subdued throughout its first half, opening up around the three minute mark into an otheworldly jam. Haunting vocal work and a truly chunktastic ending round out this nearly seven-minute epic nicely. Speaking of epic, the album’s closer, “Shrine”, is one of the best realized songs on the album and features standout performances throughout. Akin to “On We Sail” in terms of its infectiousness, “Shrine” relies mainly on a singular riff throughout its hypnotic, ten minute run. Encompassing much of what Rift has to offer and then some, this track is melodic, heavy, and widly ambitious. Without a doubt they saved the best for last.
While not a revelation for the genre or even the band’s own catalog, Rift is a healthy slab of doomy excellence. Like a trip beyond a terrestrial apocalypse into the phantasmagorical realms of the universe contained within the mind.