Austin Kruger. If you’re any kind of fan of black metal, you’d do well to remember that name.
Of course, our loyal Vault Hunters should already be very familiar with Kruger’s music, even if they don’t immediately recognize his name. We’ve been singing the praises of his band Suicide Forest every chance we get for over a year now, and with their self-titled debut full-length – which I listed as one of my Most Anticipated albums for the second half of 2018 back in July – due out on October 30, we couldn’t be happier to be streaming its penultimate track “Sea of Trees” here today at the Vault.
I’m generally not in the habit of quoting lengthy passages from promotional materials, but I’m going to make an exception here because…reasons. Okay, fine – because I kind of wrote these, anyway. I’m going to jump around and cherry-pick from them, though:
Suicide Forest is the brainchild of 23-year-old multi-instrumentalist Austin Kruger, who self-released a trio of demos between July 2016 and July 2017: Emptiness, Indifference, and Apathy. With each successive release, Kruger’s performances sound increasingly more confident, and the songwriting is increasingly more daring as a result. Now, with the impending release of Suicide Forest’s self-titled full-length, Kruger is poised to be mentioned in the same company as the Scott Connors, Jef Whiteheads and Sin Nannas of the music world. Exalted company to be sure, but perhaps not the best points of comparison for the remarkable achievement that is Suicide Forest. Kruger may well have more in common with some of the great auteurs from the world of film like Orson Welles, Jean-Luc Godard, or Francois Truffaut, making Suicide Forest the band’s Citizen Kane, À bout de souffle, or Les Quatre Cents Coups: a towering debut that both acknowledges the work that came before it and completely rewrites the rules of the game.here
From the driving rhythms and ethereal keyboard accents of opener “Kingdom of Solitude,” through the despairingly beautiful piano interlude “Baptized in Pools of Despondency,” to the lengthy sample from Jim Jones’s last speech exhorting his followers to commit ‘revolutionary suicide’ at the end of closing track “Cold Dark Comfort,” Suicide Forest is nothing short of a watershed release for depressive black metal.
While none of Suicide Forest sounds particularly cheerful, “Sea of Trees” is easily one of the album’s darkest tracks. Musically, it stays primarily in the mid-tempo range, with plenty of minor key chord progressions and arpeggios, and an abundance of despondent, ghostly keyboards.
Lyrically, Kruger offered this about the song:
Although “Sea of Trees” is one of the names often associated with Aokigahara, this track and its lyrics are less about a physical place and more so about a state of mind. The state of mind where the only sense of any comfort comes in absolute isolation.
Suicide Forest will be available on October 30 from Ascension Monuments Media (no physical preorders, but you can preorder it digitally here). Until then, come with us as we venture deep into the “Sea of Trees,” seeking communion with the dead already residing there…