From start to finish on Repine Forest, I Forget Myself constantly puts forth rewarding pieces of fresh, pure alternative rock. With dense mixes, neat rhythmic and melodic ideas, executed with efficiency and style, and pristine, adventurous production, resulting in an album that’s quick and refreshing, yet packed and daunting.
Based in Hong Kong, I Forget Myself is a (mostly) one-man band, featuring the help of session drummer Kyle Reece, and mixing engineer Johan Heyns on his latest full-length LP -the fifth in a three-year span- Repine Forest. I Forget Myself is a singer and songwriter whose sound can be safely described as cutting edge on this latest release of his. Spacey atmospherics and impeccable grooves populate the whole length of this 11-song album. Ranging from accessible but dense and intricate funk jams, all the way to nuanced and rhythmically complex math rock exercises, Repine Forest is at once an entertaining listen, and a challenging musical foray.
Let’s get one thing straight.. one of this album’s defining characteristics is its dense and detailed mixes, making it mandatory to use decent-quality headphones to truly appreciate the depth and grasp the color in those pieces. The album starts with the immediately punchy Light Up. Loaded with meaty riffs and juicy tones, the guitars set a nice trend of inventiveness. The drums and voice also start a trend each of their own that persists throughout the album, the drums’ is a healthy sound that’s roomy and expansive, while the vocals are spacey, processed, and largely used as much as ornamentation as they are vassals for lyrical messages delivered by I Forget Myself.
The starting cut is a solid introduction to the album’s distinctive brand of alternative rock. Islands is a piece that starts with a rapid paced arpeggio that sets the mood for an explosive crescendo that never realizes. Instead, we get a spacey slow burner with a hectic, driving groove, and a ton of personality, courtesy of juicy bass and guitar riffs. The next two cuts, Proliferate and Ghost Writer, are two pieces of intense rock with heavy, destroyer-of-nations sounding bass, playing distorted riffs. The vocals on Ghost Writer sit a little bit more in the forefront of the mix, highlighting their softer and more seductive delivery. Working Title is a piece that features intricate mathematical rhythms, apparent in its bass-and-drums-heavy mix. This song is heavy and with nuanced rhythms, it was the most technically proficient yet challenging listen on the entire record.
Following the relatively short and melodic interlude that is Into the Valley of Foxfire, we have Asperity Please. Scratchy, menacing, start-stop riffs, and heavy-footed double kick drum beats make this piece touch considerably on a nu-metal sound that’s energized and asking to be blasted at full volume. Lambent’s defining melody is slow and brooding, considerably dark, yet serene in its core. The fusion of processed vocals, spacey atmospherics, slow tempo, and floating pads make for a unique-sounding song that’s relatively restrained. Crimson and Lime has a lot of “lead single” potential, with its progressive composition and infectious grooves, bookending the album on a high note.
Repine Forest does not stop delivering one rich mix after the other, showcasing the skills of the songwriter, drummer, and producer at hand. All of the 11 songs on the album feature larger-than-life, pounding drums, terrific, detailed production, and the quick wit and sharp songwriting skills of I Forget Myself, making for a rewarding listen for the lovers of Linkin Park, and similar, modern, alt-rock acts with similar leanings.