Album Reviews

The Lord: Forest Nocturne

The Sunn O))) maestro returns as The Lord.

Greg Anderson is never far away from the new music hamster wheel. Under his latest moniker, The Lord, Anderson releases his debut long-player, Forest Nocturne.

Initially released in April in conjunction with RSD, last month Forest Nocturne eventually reached more ears with a worldwide release.

During this time it was also announced that Forest Nocturne wouldn’t be The Lord’s only 2022 offering, as the amplifier worshiper revealed details of a collaboration with singer/ violinist, Petra Haden. It’s hardly surprising, as Anderson, also the spearhead of Southern Lord, lives a life forever spinning plates or, indeed, riding against the flames (in the last 12 months he has also released new material with Engine Kid as well as re-issuing Goatsnake’s vital self-titled debut album).

Back to The Lord, and if anyone were fit for such monikers then surely it’s Anderson. In fact, he may be doing himself a slight disserve, for The Overlord may have been slightly more appropriate. Alongside his Sunn O))) sidekick Stephen O’Malley, Anderson has never wavered from sharing his sense of humour and once again it’s on show.

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Anderson unearthed The Lord in 2021, with two singles; the first featuring BIG | BRAVE’s Robin Wattie in Needle Cast followed up by We Who Walk In Light, which featured William Duvall of Alice In Chains and Neon Christ.

Produced by Brad Wood, Forest Nocturne continues the contemplative vibe of Anderson’s more recent works with Sunn O))). However, here he reaches the summit in different ways as open spaces, cinema and Norwegian black metal clearly shine through as key influences during this journey.

The Lord - Forest Nocturne

Starting with THEME – a slow-motion black metal dirge seemingly conceived from the depths of a Norwegian forest.

With a hymnal array of strings and brass, Church of Herrmann is like a sermon delivered by the outlier. During Sunn O)))’s vibrant spell over their last three releases (including the live Metta Benevolence… recording), we’ve seen the doom overlords stretch their ideas in more of a band-orientated fashion. Church of Hermann carries this idea, too, however Anderson presents things as something akin to a one man choir, orchestrating something that drips with dread.

With eerie passages that feel like a build-up to receiving a dagger through the mist, Lefthand Lullaby, Pt.1 and Pt..2 are a clear homage to film composer, John Carpenter. With Pt. 1 more of a pathway of sorts, Anderson lets loose with utter carnage on Pt 2. The piece encapsulates Forest Nocturne with maximalism in tone, richness, and texture.

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Then there’s Forest Wave, where Anderson leans even harder on his cinematic influences with a horror metal vibe featuring the kind of flammable riff that would bring Odin to his knees.

Deciduous and Old Growth couldn’t be more contrasting. Possessing the kind of atmosphere of Labradford’s A Stable Reference, these two compositions are enveloped in the kind of desolation that spells the end. In particular Old Growth, which builds majestically, like a searing hell storm raining fire.

Forest Nocturne wouldn’t be complete without a cameo from regular Sunn O))) collaborator, Mayhem’s Atilla Csihar. And it’s big. Like the remnants of a nightmare emitted across the canvass, Anderson’s riffs are seemingly pulled from an Engine Kid session and dragged through the gore off a dungeon floor. This is tonality that makes your bones shake. A darkness few dare to explore, and with Forest Nocturne, Anderson is truly absorbed in it. And whilst in this milieu, he dispenses sublime walls of sound as only he knows how.

Forest Nocturne is out now via Southern Lord. Purchase from Bandcamp.

By Simon Kirk

Product from the happy generation. Proud purple bin owner surviving on music, books and LFC. New book, Welcome To Charmsville, available from all major vendors.

5 replies on “The Lord: Forest Nocturne”

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