Let’s deal first with the elephant in the room: Forlorn World is the solo project of Josh McMorran, the principle figure behind the enormously successful UK extreme metal band Bloodshot Dawn. That fact alone will form immediate expectations about the music, even though Bloodshot Dawn‘s path has displayed its own twists and turns from album to album, the latest of which was 2018’s Reanimation.
And the connections to Bloodshot Dawn don’t end there — Bloodshot Dawn guitarist Morgan Reid makes a guest appearance on Forlorn World‘s debut album Umbra, and Bloodshot Dawn bassist Giacomo Gastaldi (also Darkend) also handled the bass on Forlorn World‘s debut.
So, why isn’t Umbra a Bloodshot Dawn album?
Josh McMorran explains that he wanted a different platform to explore new realms within his musical repertoire, and to weave an epic narrative plot together with the music, with guest vocalists and musicians (including Francesco Paoli of Fleshgod Apocalypse, the afore-mentioned Morgan Reid, Yo Oniytan, and many more) selected to portray a character or moment in ways that their talents would suit best.
To make the project more economically viable, McMorran also chose to create the album in a DIY fashion, recording and mixing it himself, though he turned for mastering and additional mixing to producer Jacob Hansen of Hansen Studios (Aborted, Extol, Amaranthe). As he tells us: “Forlorn World is a way for me to create new music without the confines of money and the high expectation that comes with being in my main band. Taking on the production duties has also helped me grow as a musician and implement my ideas and vision in a way I’m extremely happy with”.
And so, where did these ambitions lead? You’re about to get the first glimpse, because today we’re bringing you a lyric video for one of Umbra‘s seven tracks, a song called “The Shadowmancer“.
This new song is named for the central figure in Umbra‘s narrative, which is “a story of a man forced to take a dark path, finding revenge and redemption”. “The lyrical concepts within the album touch on modern politics and social observations ambiguously woven into an adventure following a wizard that seeks revenge in a universe of portals, trolls and medieval civilisation. The album follows The Shadowmancer’s journey to revenge and redemption; after suffering a harrowing trauma he will learn and grow, gaining the power to appease his will”. McMorran further explains:
‘The story is about a man who stands up for his beliefs, shot down in the face of impending fear. This is somber tale of redemption and inner struggles which hold the character back and his journey to overcome it all.”
As for the music in this new song, the super-charged energy, the jolting rhythms, the electrifying riffs, the fluid and enormously scintillating soloing, and the ferocious roars will all be sweet sounds to the Bloodshot Dawn faithful. But along with the obliterating ferocity and the hefty doses of shred, the song has its surprises, chief among them the soaring vocal melody and the sweeping synths, which lend the music a fantastical and frankly glorious atmosphere. McMorran identifies Scar Symmetry and Soilwork among the many melodic death metal influences he drew upon in making Umbra, and you can hear those influences in this new song.
The artwork for Umbra was created by Applewhite Art and is a scene from the concept depicting an epic battle between the main protagonist of the story (The Shadowmancer) and an army of 1000 strong. Credit for the production of the lyric video goes to Titanforged Productions.
Umbra will be released on October 15th on Bandcamp and on October 30th on all major platforms in physical and digital format.