Words Of Farewell - Stories To Forget

Artist: Words Of Farewell

Album Title: Stories To Forget EP

Label: Seek And Strike

Date of Release: 29 March 2024

Masters of the EP, Words Of Farewell return with yet another truncated release for us all to wrap our ears around. Formed around 2006 and releasing three full-length albums to date, we’ve not been treated to an album from the German outfit since 2016, although ‘Stories To Forget’ represents the third EP since then. The cynic in me might cheekily wonder whether the sextet have it in them to write a consistent set of eight to ten tracks for an album these days, but I fully suspect there are plenty of other factors at play.

Regardless of the reasons, it’s always better to have some new music than none at all, especially when there’s as much to enjoy as there is here with ‘Stories To Forget’. Believe me, if you like your heavy metal to be of the modern melodic death variety, then I believe you ought to be all over this release like a rash.

Consisting of guitarists Robin ‘Rob’ Dirks and Erik ‘EG’ Gaßmus, vocalist Alexander ‘Alex’ Otto, drummer Tristan Wegner, bassist Konstantin Voßhoff, and keyboardist Leo Wichmann, the six-piece deliver five new songs that have caught my ear and led to an enthusiastic desire to pen this review. Taking their inspiration from the likes of mid-late era Dark Tranquillity, and then throwing in some seeds of modern metalcore (but not too much) and Gothic atmospherics, ‘Stories To Forget’ pushes several of my musical buttons to positive effect.

None more so than the opening track, ‘A Lesser King’ which, let’s be honest, is a bit of an anthem. There’s a slight industrial, dystopian feel to the brief intro to the track, before it explodes into a hell-for-leather double-pedal and fast riffing assault, a little thrash in its punchy attack. After a short burst of the pace, the song settles into more of a mid-tempo affair, with bold synths and electronics adding to the textures at play. I love the gruff vocals of Otto; they remind me a little of Alexander Krull of Atrocity because of their deep, gritty rasp. But the chorus is the clincher, with a central melody and hooks to immediately ensnare, layered with lush keys and a lead guitar line that’s irresistible. An acoustic interlude and a blazing lead guitar solo round out what has become one of my go-to doses of ear candy of late.

I hear more of a Gothic cloak to the title track that follows the opener eagerly. An even greater use of electronic sounds and textures gives this song a slightly different feel to its predecessor, but they both have in common some Dark Tranquillity-esque lead guitar lines that elevate the music even higher in my affections. It might not be as immediate as the opener, but it’s one hell of a grower, let me tell you.

Words Of Farewell - Stories To Forget

The powerful intent continues well with ‘Parting Ways’ although, if I’m completely honest, it’s possibly the least memorable of the five. It’s not a poor song, and the quality isn’t lessened, it’s just that the others speak to me more. That said, there’s some delicious bass playing that’s allowed a moment or two to shine, as well as yet another nice, wailing solo.

‘Mono No Aware’, meanwhile is initially more brooding and mysterious in tone before hitting hard with a seriously nice, juicy melodeath riff that strikes me as slightly more Finnish in sound than Swedish, although I have no idea why, really. What I wasn’t initially expecting however, was the chorus, complete with clean vocals. It’s another dimension that, having not been overused to this point, has a big impact and takes the chorus to another level entirely. The way that the song ebbs and flows, too, creates greater dynamics, and I swear I hear a touch of Evergrey in the lead solo that battles with the bruising melodeath tumult surrounding it.

The EP ends all too soon with ‘This Mirage’, which has more of a ballad feel to it thanks to the pacing, the swathes of gentle keys, and the steady build-up. It’s not strictly a ballad, though, as the ensuing gruff vocals and sharp riffing attest. Nevertheless, the melodies are definitely more whimsical and, dare I say, poignant, whilst the song does veer more readily towards those quieter, more introspective passages as it develops. But again, the chosen melodies are really arresting for my tastes and ensure that it’s another very strong track on an already strong EP.

Surely, with this amount of talent and clear songwriting ability, we should be able to expect a full-length album from Words Of Farewell at some point in the reasonably near future? Please? As it stands, though, ‘Stories To Forget’ is anything but, and should have been named ‘melodic death metal to remember’. I heartily recommend this release to those who enjoy this kind of thing, and I shall very much look forward to seeing these Germans on stage at Karmøygeddon Festival in a month or so.

The Score of Much Metal: 85%



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