In recent memory, I shared one of my more peculiar finds with Drunk in a Graveyard – two bands, both great, and both named Valefor. Of course, duplicates are bound to pop every now and again, but I didn’t expect to find myself in the same situation again so quickly, particularly with another unusual name spanning two very similar-yet-different genres. It all started when I nearly spit out my booch when I saw a self-titled record by a band named For Døve pop up in a subscription for a black metal promotional channel.
Døves, the plural, is a rapper best known for his affiliation with angst-ridden hip-hop collective Gothboiclique. While his feature on Avoid with historic Graveyard favorites Wicca Phase Springs Eternal and Lil Peep is perhaps one of his most well-known tracks, Døves has no doubt held it down in his own right as Youth has gone viral in the sphere of YouTube known for animated cityscapes and black and white shots of Bart Simpson. While I’m a big fan of the cartoon hoodie-wearing wombat in those chill beat study loops, I’m an even bigger fan of the low-lying rapper.
I’ve always been confident that the melancholic beats and anguished voices of young visionaries like Døves would translate well into my other great love, DSBM. Needless to say, I was a little disappointed when I found that the gloomy album art sitting brazenly on my computer screen was not Døves’s grand metal debut. While rumor has it that he isn’t opposed to the idea, I can’t blame him for sticking to the experimental rap game, particularly as it’s proven to be the arena of music where there’s still a few pennies to be made. Nevertheless, I can’t say that For Døve left me empty handed in the least.
Right out of the gate, the fact that this equally-elusive three-piece is from Dallas made this old lady willing to raise an ear trumpet. It’s a city that’s brought me one of my all-time favorites, Fair to Midland, who personifies broad skies and hay bales in their heavy rhythm guitar, ethereal piano, and well-placed banjos. In the crossover end of things, there’s Lil Lotus, who, despite his litany of face tattoos on which metal geezers would ironically want to dwell, is one of the exceptions of Soundcloud kids who can legitimately sing with little assistance – a fact for which I can vow after hearing him perform a hometown show earlier this year. So, put these legacies together, and there’s a great forecast for magic.
What appears to be For Døve’s first album was released November 11 via War Against Yourself (Happy Days, Ofdrykkja, Intig). When a band is so new that they have yet to be added to Encyclopaedia Metallum, Jenna slightly wants to end her shit as there are few other ways to confirm any who, what, or why. Nevertheless, the promotional grapevine points to the fact that this is the brainchild of Greg Nunn of Manhunt – a project that yields a slightly more abrasive take on hope-teetering DSBM. Interestingly, For Døve has a bit of an eclectic lineup as Nunn holds down all instrumental responsibilities, B.M. provides vocals, and separate lyricist Skylar Schexnayder takes care of the substance behind the shrieks. It’s ambiguous as to what this will mean for translating into Dallas’ live music scene. Like with most depressive ventures, this one might just stay in the shadows.
As for the rest of For Døve’s details, we’re just going to have to dive into the material itself in order to search for clues and give credit where credit is due. To start, For Døve possesses a seeming contradiction as the industrial feel of mechanical grinding gives way to a much more modern reality. Opening guitar contributions can be best described as post-metal on low battery – and I mean that as affectionately as humanly possible. The brilliance of tone wilts a bit at the end of each note, giving off an ominous presence that’s eventually greeted again by the experimental mystery noise. Interestingly, as matters become atmospheric, the harsh wall of vocals blends delicately into the cool coasts of instrumentals. Despite being presented as the product of a metal band, it quickly starts to read very much like ethereal prog rock that happens to have a case of the blues.
That being said, For Døve will not necessarily leave more heavy-handed metal fans disappointed. Tracks like “Tear” shake up the midsection of the album as it becomes a home for crashing waves that wane only from brief tests of atmosphere’s outer limits. This build-up ultimately gives way to the final crescendo; a push that makes the overarching drone components feel as they have grown, reaching their full potential in the process. Despite this growth, the album’s end does feel a bit abrupt, but perhaps I’m only thinking in the traditional formula for post-metal in which lighter sections tend to be qualified with a sudden outpouring of weight and aggression.
Much like cases in the Soundcloud world, budding artists within depressive black metal can experience a number of trajectories. While some of my favorite have been known to drop a slapper and then disappear (Entering), I do hope that For Døve stays and kicks it for a bit. With support from War Against Yourself and a good deal of vision and raw talent, the potential is certainly there to be among one of the heavyweights. Further, I would lose my shit if they rounded up some session artists and gave Deep Ellum the time of its life. Lord knows I’ve been pounding my fists for live DSBM for years now, and by god, if the goth cowboys don’t give it to me I might just have to go brood with black and white Bart.
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