Fin’amor are a New York City band founded in 2008, and their debut album Forbidding Mourning is set for release on July 7. In this post you will find the premiere of a full stream of Forbidding Mourning along with an interesting interview of the band’s guitarist Julian Chuzhik that sheds light on the band’s history as well as the musical and lyrical ideas reflected in this new album.
Fin’amor’s members come from a variety of musical backgrounds, and the seven songs on Forbidding Mourning reveal a rich tapestry of interwoven styles. As Julian Chuzhik explains in the accompanying interview:
“I think it would be fair to say that we play doom-influenced death, just as much as it’s fair to say that we play doom-influenced ’90s pop or goth or classical; I think all the opinions could be valid. We don’t want to tell someone that you can’t like our music because we only cater to doomers or the death metal crowd or whoever. We all have very different musical backgrounds, but find common ground in the music that we make. In the end, I guess all that matters for us is that we write mostly down-tempo riffs.”
Though it’s possible to pick out the varied strands of stylistic influence on display in Forbidding Mourning, Fin’amor have meticulously combined them in a way that produces a multifaceted and enthralling listening experience, full of contrasting shades of light and dark. Layered within the music you’ll hear a wide variety of guitar tones, effects, and playing styles, as well as piano and ambient/orchestral keyboard music, not to mention a powerful drum and bass presence.
Consistent with the often grim and tragic lyrical themes of the songs, the melodies in the music are primarily melancholy and even despairing — but the massive heaviness of those sensations is also counterbalanced by moments of mesmerizing beauty and hopefulness, just as the deep, harrowing growls in the vocal department are balanced against sombre clean vocals (which are themselves quite varied).
And if you need any further reference points, think about such bands as Swallow the Sun, Katatonia, Type O Negative, and My Dying Bride.
I have my own favorite tracks on the album — “Oasis”, “Natura”, and “Valediction” — but there really aren’t any weak songs on the album. It will hold onto you from start to finish.
Enjoy our album stream below, and please also do check out the interview that follows it.
As noted, Forbidding Mourning will be released on July 7th and it’s available for pre-order in bundle packages on the Fin’amor Bandcamp Page HERE. Each order comes with two instant downloads of the tracks “Bleed the Ocean” and “Natura”.
Forbidding Mourning Track Listing:
1. Bleed The Oceans
3. I Am Winter
4. Memories of Flesh
6. Porcelain Swan
Benjamin Meyerson- Vocals
Julian Chuzhik- Guitar
Raphael Pinsker- Guitar
Nodar Khutortsov- Keyboard
Slava Morozov- Bass
Eugene Bell- Drums
Greetings from Seattle, and thanks for making time to answer a few questions. For readers who may be discovering Fin’amor for the first time, could you give us a sketch of the band’s history and the musical backgrounds of its members?
We started Fin’amor about seven years ago, originally just consisting of myself, Nodar, and Benjamin. We all had band experience from our previous projects (myself in black metal, Nodar in industrial, and Ben in hardcore), and became close friends during that time, so it was natural for us to start playing together. Doom was the one genre we all found common ground in and still do as a whole, so it keeps us tethered in our writing style to this day.
I gather from a few things I’ve read that the new album Forbidding Mourning has been in the works a long time. How does it feel to be on the brink of its release after all that time and effort?
It’s a massive relief! It was something we had planned on doing for so long that it’s almost unbelievable that the release is finally within our grasp. One of the things we had envisioned from the start was being able to share our music with anyone who was willing to listen worldwide, but we sort of lost track of that in the initial years in favor of playing more live shows. When asked about the album, we’re just glad we can finally replace “Yeah, we’re working on it” with “We have a date ready!”
Fin’amor play a style of doom that incorporates musical elements from melodic death metal (as well as black metal, gothic, and progressive metal). In fact, I suppose it might be just as fair to say that Fin’amor are a doom-influenced melodic death metal band. As you see it, how did the band’s musical focus take shape from among the different interests and backgrounds of yourself and your band mates?
I think it would be fair to say that we play doom-influenced death, just as much as it’s fair to say that we play doom-influenced ’90s pop or goth or classical; I think all the opinions could be valid. We don’t want to tell someone that you can’t like our music because we only cater to doomers or the death metal crowd or whoever. We all have very different musical backgrounds, but find common ground in the music that we make. In the end, I guess all that matters for us is that we write mostly down-tempo riffs.
On a related subject, the songs include so many different musical textures and contrasting shades of light and dark, including the integration of piano and ambient/orchestral keyboard music, along with a wide variety of guitar tones and effects. Given all the shape-shifting variety and richly layered musical elements, what was the process that was followed in the composition of the songs, and who would you say played the principal role(s) in the song-writing?
What usually ends up happening is that Nodar or I will write a raw idea that sounds good as a standalone riff, and then we jam it on a recorded loop in his studio/basement and see what flows from there. This method leads to at least 9 out of 10 riffs getting scrapped as a necessary and unfortunate by-product, but this method also lets us write songs we are really proud of; songs that we would’ve never written individually.
I’d say the two biggest problems we have when trying to write a complete idea are writer’s block and translation. I’m sure everyone has experienced it on some level, but it always sucks when you’re on a roll and you have all this momentum and then all of a sudden you’re in quicksand and the more riffs you try to write, the deeper and deeper it sucks you in and the whole writing session quickly becomes a doomed endeavor.
When this problem doesn’t happen, the layers of keys and bass are usually covered by Nodar over a raw riff, while I layer the guitars with leads and licks where needed. We usually end up adding about ten to twenty layers of just guitars and keys to any one riff and then heavily subtracting layers from there. After we get to a point where we think that we’ve completed a song, we re-listen to it over the course of a few weeks to see if there are any changes that need to be made. At that point, the song is either finished or scrapped into the dark abyss that is Nodar’s hard drive.
Do you see some common thread or unifying concept in the inspiration that led to the songs on the album, either lyrically or in the emotional mood of the music? Or were the songs really written independently of each other?
The seven tracks are basically taken from two eras of the band: “Natura”, “I am Winter”, “Memories of Flesh”, and “Bleed the Ocean” were mostly written during the 2008-2012 era, while “Porcelain Swan”, “Oasis”, and “Valediction” were written after that in anticipation of the album release. The latter songs have a more atmospheric and experimental tone, while the earlier ones were influenced by more familiar doom and death elements. We wanted to release a good balance between Fin’amor’s past, present, and future, and I think we did it.
Lyrically, each song comes from a very dark place: suicide (“Bleed the Ocean”), destruction of the earth (“Natura”), desperation (“Oasis”), we well as reflections of death, tragedy, and sorrow. The themes are universal, and are meant to reflect the struggles of all people. Despite its dark grounding, the unifying idea throughout the album is hope, and each song contains at least a single word that negates the subject matter. Benjamin likes to include elements of poetry in their construction as well, which I’ve always been a fan of as it reminds me of Aaron Stainthorpe’s works on the MDB albums. Most of the lyrics express in some length that the true tragedy is being consumed by the darkness and denying the light, without ever considering that there needs to be a balance of both.
Each of the songs on the album is multi-faceted, but I think “Oasis” is certainly one of the most interesting. As I hear it, there’s an exotic, perhaps Middle Eastern, flavor to some of the melodic strands in “Oasis”. Don’t know if you agree with that characterization, but where did the musical ideas for that song come from?
Definitely! “Oasis” was actually one of the most fun songs to write on the album. We wanted to write something that sounds like you’re endlessly walking through a dry desert, baking in the sun, and with no shelter or water to find. I remember us first trying to jam out the intro riff and the odd timing of it was unplanned and came so naturally to us that we just had to keep it. Since the idea was centralized in a desert, we knew we had to use a mix of minor, Phrygian, and other Middle Eastern scales to write the majority of the riffs. The passage in the middle made us leave our comfort zone for a bit to really get the essence of the song out in full view, but it was also really rewarding to hear it all come together in the end.
There’s a lot of vocal variety on the album, both in the harsh vocals and in the clean ones. Who contributed the female vocals on “Memories of Flesh”, and are there any other guest appearances on the album, either vocally or instrumentally?
The female vocals heard on “Memories” were done by a friend of ours, Julie German. Despite being untrained, we thought she had an exceptional voice and we had the perfect song to let her show it. She wasn’t into metal, but she did like the song so she volunteered to help us out on the track. Outside of her, there are no other guest appearances on the album.
One more song-specific question: There’s an extended guitar solo over an interesting, syncopated drum beat in the mid-section of “Natura” that I think is one of the albums high points. Who performed that solo and is there a story about how it was created?
I’m glad you think so, because it’s one of my favorite parts of the song as well! The rhythm drum and bass section was written mostly by Nodar, and the drastic way it breaks away from the momentum of the previous riff is what made it really special to me. I didn’t want to clog it up with too much, but it felt like it was missing something, so the melodic solo you hear is my solution to filling that void and leading into the next passages.
Do you have a favorite song on the album, and if you do, what makes it special to you?
“Valediction”. I was able to really step out of the convenient doom and metal writing styles and techniques and just write something that was one of the most experimental songs we’ve written to date. The ending of it paints a vivid post-apocalyptic image in my head every time I play it, where a barren planet is washed over by a plethora of deep blue and orange cosmic colors, just spinning on its axis with all the artifacts of civilization spread out amongst rubble across its surface.
New York City seems to have an eclectic metal scene (at least as I perceive it from waaaay out here in the Northwest corner of the country). How receptive and supportive has it been to Fin’amor’s brand of metal, which strikes me as a unique style based on the metal from New York that I’m most familiar with?
From my understanding, the New York scene is one of the most diverse scenes, but I really can’t speak on a national level with experience. I can, however, say from experience that metal comes basically in three genres that mix and match each other here: death, black, and hardcore. Bands deriving from one or more of the above styles have been a signature of every show we have ever played in New York, outside of those with the national touring bands like Septic Flesh and Moonspell. From what I’ve seen, doom as a genre isn’t as represented locally as others: you’ll see some stoner or sludgey doom here and there within the boroughs, but not enough in the vein of European doom or funeral doom. In that sense, we have been shaving against the grain for the entirety of our run so far, but we’ve made some great friends and peers along the way. Regardless, we wouldn’t even be where we are now without the support of the fans we have gained throughout the years, both locally and internationally, and we are eternally grateful for them.
Do you have any plans to take the show on the road this year?
Yes, this summer we are hitting the East Coast regionally, on weekends, and hope to do a proper tour in the winter time.
Thanks a lot for making time to answer these questions. Is there any other Fin’amor news or thoughts you’d like to share with our readers in parting?
Thank you for your kind remarks! We’re just looking forward to sharing our music throughout the East Coast this summer, and are only saddened to not be able to extend that to the West Coast and other places we have yet to visit. We think this will be a great experience for us and we hope to see new and old faces as we spread the word of doom across the U.S.