Surprisingly a nice album. Normally when I think of melodic death metal I associate it with being nothing more than power metal with death vocals. There’s none of that edge to it, none of that grime that makes death metal great. The problem I think that so many bands emphasize the melody too much and completely ignore other aspects of death metal, aside from the vocals. Vehemence, a band that has gotten in trouble for doing some “pop-death metal” work in the past, does a great job here at making an album that sounds melodic, with distinctly structured songs, while still maintaining the core death metal sound. The melody is not overbearing and dominating, instead acting like a way to progress the music.
There is a distinct combination of the harsh and the soft, especially on the track A Dark Figure in the Distance. An absolutely beautiful track, it infuses acoustic guitar work that doesn’t feel out of place with the generally harsh style of the rest of the album. The track feels actually sorrowful, which isn’t an emotion I typically associate with death metal. The rest of the album employs the musical ying and yang to lull the listener into almost a sense of comfort, albeit not in the traditional sense. It’s a bit hard to explain, but to me the record didn’t feel like it was going to hurt me. I think in this case that’s a good thing, as Forward Without Motion is able to keep its edge while still feeling familiar.
I will say however I feel like it’s a tad long. I never fully got bored, but at almost an hour in length, I felt I grew a bit weary of the record. This is amplified by many tracks that I won’t say sound the same, but have similar atmospheres and tendencies. Overall however I think this is a great record and a really nice comeback for this band. It has just enough of a dark side to keep the listener seriously interested, while still providing the listener without something to hum days after listening.