Until The Sky Dies – Forgotten Pact
Reviewed: February 2021
Released: 2020, Dead Games Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
FORGOTTEN PACT is the sophomore release from Phoenix based duo Until the Sky Dies. The press release supporting the album makes some allusions to a pretty eclectic batch of artists – Devin Townsend, Melvins, Faith No More, Bolt Thrower, and Swans, along with “Post Hardcore, “Post Doom” and “Avant Death Metal”. Spending some time with FORGOTTEN PACT, what I’m hearing is a lot closer to a batch of knockoff Weeadeter/Buzzov*en/Noothgrush-y riffs with a whole lot of scowly, growly vocals that maybe takes itself a bit too seriously.
Which too be fair, there’s nothing wrong with jamming on knockoff Weedeater/Buzzov*en/Noothgrush riffs; there’s a time, place, and audience for everything – but just own it man. Pick your lane and go nuts with it, but don’t build yourself up on the backs of other truly adventurous artists and caveat it with a bunch of sub-genre ju-jitsu. Right, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about the tunes.
Proudly boasting a DIY production veneer, most of FORGOTTEN PACT revolves around murky, lo-fi riffs dueling with crusty, blackened word spew, though there are varying moments of peaks and valleys. I can’t figure out if the opening drum kick on “Chose to Die” is actually from “Smells Like Teen Spirit” or Black Flag’s cover of “Louie Louie”, but either way it’s all I could think about. “Destructive Voices” actually has a pretty catchy main riff to it, but misses the opportunity to do anything particularly substantive with it. But then tracks like “Dear Mother Not Forgotten” and “Zeppelins are not made for flying” both offer up some weirdo synth work and caustic sonic mashups that feel closer to the level of experimentation that the duo aspires to. And to its credit, I’ve found myself coming back to FORGOTTEN PACT repeatedly trying to crack the code on what it’s all supposed to mean, and with each listen I’m left with the same head scratching confusion. You get an “E” for effort on that one.
The crummy thing is that if FORGOTTEN PACT was packaged as a recently discovered demo from some obscure Scandinavian generation 2 black metal project, the whole thing would make more sense and probably would’ve been received a little differently. Or if Until The Sky Dies would’ve lead with, “we play blackened crust sludge, and eff you if you don’t like it”, that also would’ve also checked the appropriate boxes. But at the end of the day, FORGOTTEN PACT is 50 minutes worth tunes that (depending on your personal tastes) will prompt you to either persevere through its entirety or quickly jump to the next album in your queue.