First things first. The album “In Vain”, written, recorded, mixed and produced by one-man project I Forget Myself, is an apocalyptic soundscape that switches between moments of bliss and fury, as the songs sweep majestically between Armageddon heavy, to moments of dark, aching eeriness. I Forget Myself is at his best when these elements are in balance, and the tension between these poles is the core of his identity. The album bursts into life with noisy urgency and a towering wall of sound that ebbs and flows instinctively. There one moment and gone the next. As the emphasis alternates between guitar and bass, the songs swept along with hard-hitting instrumentals held together by the expressive drums. Its compositional approach is indicative of the record’s collaborative nature, with a longtime session drummer friend, and a mastering engineer, respectively, to produce the 11-track alternative rock album.
I Forget Myself is a professional recording artist with over two decades of experience: from playing in touring bands for over a decade and being signed to a major label in his native South Africa, through to writing, recording, producing and mixing his own music. “In Vain”, is the project’s third album. I Forget Myself has seldom had bad output in any form, whilst creatively experimenting in a way many other alternative rock bands have failed at, since the turn of the millennium.
Perfect is a strong word, but a word that could be used time after time on this album. The opener, “Honestly, Help Us” quickly sets a somber and ominous mood, awash with slamming drums, rolling basslines and twisting guitars. I Forget Myself’s distinctive vocals swoop in with its both atmospheric and soaring extensions.
“The Transcendent Paradox”, chugs and grinds above dynamic percussion and as I Forget Myself screams in the way only he can, leaving no time for a response, and launching into a scathing tirade.
“People Mending” brilliantly establishes an almost hardcore punk-rock rawness that underpins many of I Forget Myself’s works, and marries it with the forward-thinking musical unpredictability that the artist has spent the best part of two decades making his own.
The title track “In Vain” takes off like a runaway train delivering a fresh assuredness within the carefully crafted tension between brutality and fragility. The acoustic guitars set off “Look Away”, alongside an accessible melody, before I Forget Myself races away again, on the feast-paced “Her Majesty’s Finest”.
This leads into another crusher, entitled “The Solution”, and the stellar “Bridges” where I Forget Myself employs some high-flying vocals. The moment of respite comes with the mellifluous downtempo shimmer of “Skylark”.
It is difficult to select a song that outshines the rest, however the bone-crushing track, “Illustrious”, is nothing short of spectacular in its execution. The intro of “Secret Door” sees I Forget Myself trade the crunchy riffs for resonant ambiance, before eventually building in grit and intensity.
With “In Vain”, I Forget Myself forges a path forward through the new decade with moments of bone-shaking heaviness and celestial beauty, firing on all cylinders and refusing to rest on his laurels. He tweaks his signature sound with experimental touches and approaches the album as a self-contained piece.
The sonic world I Forget Myself creates in is compelling, latching on to unpredictability as he display a willingness to mix things up throughout – he thrives in a state of constant flux, and his third album finds him sounding as fired-up as ever.