[ALBUM REVIEW] Forever Still – Breathe In Colours

Breathe In Colours Tracklist:

1. Rewind
2 – Fight!
3 – Breathe In Colours
4 – Is It Gone?
5 – Survive
6 – Do Your Worst
7 – Pieces
8 – Rising Over You
9 – Say Your Goodbyes
10 – Embrace The Tide
11 – Is It Gone? (acoustic version) (bonus)
12 – Perfect Day (bonus)

 Reviewed by Casper

Many around the have been waiting patiently for Forever Still to unleash Breathe In Colours through Nuclear Blast on March 29th ever since the scorching fire of enthusiasm on the release of Tied Down in 2016 simmered down to a lasting warm glow.  Now if you thought that description was drawing a long bow, brace yourself for further wild metaphors from the depths of cerebral contemplation.  After all, it would seem that Maja Shining and Mikkel Haastrup have been creatively considering the question posed by Philip K Dick, namely, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.

Ok, ok…I’ll move on before I lose you completely.  The reference to the novel by Philip K Dick relates to the later adaptation of the concept into the 1982 sci-fi thriller Blade Runner and the influence that movie had on shaping the dystopian society at the heart of Breathe In Colours.  But this fictional world is still based on the realities we all share when looking out on the world and seeing the myriad of horrors and destruction surrounding our daily lives.  Maja explains more in this recent interview with me….

Musically this album is a considered progression form the Tied Down sound and some may say a gamble to reach this far for a progressive edge but one must afford adequate consideration to the musical experience between the traditional creative force behind Forever Still.  With the use of a Theremin, a vast range of effect pedals, cassette players and other assorted oddities to achieve a futuristic sound with smatterings of retro styling, one wonder which came first…the central theme or the musical inventiveness.  If one considers that the album is a monumentally successful achievement, it would be natural to surmise that one concept drove the other and vice versa throughout the entire process.

One element that must be afforded attention is that Maja and Mikkel did not rely solely on their creative prowess alone and in fact brought their live drummer Rune Frisch into the studio for the creative process.  Those who know the creative musical and magical formula between Maja and Mikkel will certainly understand the significance of them sharing the creative reins.  But the results…oh my god, the results.

As the whine of a sinister futuristic landscape beckons you forth via Rewind, a somber Maja begins the vocals but fear not for a journey of darkened despair because before long Maja’s voice is soaring majestically and with the music, hope provides light at the end of the tunnel.  Light and colour.   Every colour as it turns out on the beautiful artwork with the binary spelling out each in existence.  The message becomes clear.  Breath in the colours, the beauty all the positive aspects of this precious life before all is lost beyond all hope.  

Fight brings about the first track with Maja diving deep into the emotional pool and emerging with a truly astonishing vocal range to represent the polar extremes of human emotion.  This dramatic and powerful track sets the scene to absolute perfection because the quite unique blending of traditional Maja vocal beauty and the majestic musical magic of the Mikkel partnership are entwined with a beautifully futuristic industrial edge that doesn’t let up throughout the entire collection.  

The title track Breathe in Colours turns what is already a jaw-dropping album by track 3 into an epic journey and one is truly reveling In the ebb and flow between desperate hope and the finality of global destruction. This continues for ten amazing tracks and despite my temptation to highlight their individual appeal in order of sequence, I would rather reflect on the fact that Forever Still fans are going to be utterly overwhelmed by this magnificent work and a fresh hoard of fans the world over will be helplessly lured into the light of hope like moth to the flame.

This album is a true representation of the individual musical skills of Mikkel and Maja, but more importantly, a majestic representation of their amazing capabilities as a creative team, Their experience shines through on this collection and it will become the favourite of so many across the globe. 

Pieces will have your mouth agape in bewildered awe and perhaps with a tear in the eye, Say Your Goodbyes will have you thoroughly mesmerised and Embrace The Tide will have you begging for more.  Such a tremendously diverse work at play with sound experimentation but remaining firmly on target and entwined within the central theme.  Each track delivers so much more than you expect and the fact that this collection will constitute such a personal journey of discovery for each listener, I am careful not to focus attention on individual aspects, possibly thereby affecting the journey of each person.   Instead, I will hope that this short review will help convey just a little of the excitement that this inventive, pertinent and marvelous collection will deliver.

Sequenced so perfectly and more emotive than can reasonably be expected, this album is a conduit for a message of hope made manifest in musical magnificence.

Who know…maybe a work like this can slap us to our senses.

Bravura Forever Still.  Utterly astounding.  Surely a stage show will follow for this amazing musical voyage.