Forest Green – In Waves (review)

Forest Green, 2020

The midwest emo scene has been turbulent and transformative the past few years. Genre staples like Tiny Moving Parts, Charmer, and The World is a Beautiful Place have made waves with their happy-sounding, depressed-lyric forays, but the more tonal side of the genre lies in bands like Forest Green. With a more traditional, alternative approach, this band looks to impress with their debut LP, In Waves:

Emotional and vehement, In Waves kicks off with “5’6″ Ain’t Bad,” a personal diatribe in the vein of Chevelle and Filter. Adhering to the checklist of emo, there’s ample angst, somber guitar riffs, and a drum fill sprinkled in here and there. Leading single “Ivory” lyrically encapsulates the sadness within failure, with a striking outro instrumental fitting the mood exquisitely.

“In Waves” has an awesome opening riff, and is my highlight track on the album, with Forest Green coming together with well-crafted songwriting meeting strong execution for an emo must-listen. “World of Red” puts things in high gear with fast strumming and challenging drumming culminating into an emphatic chorus and an intense scream ending the song.

“Softly” would sound right at home on a Deftones record, as this piece, the longest on In Waves, contains a well-structured bridge where the vocalist begs you to “slow the pace of my heartbeat.” Next up, “Kiss from the Moon” helms a somber guitar under the center-stage vocals, as this song is a brief interlude into the next “Kiss.”

The follow-up is “Kiss from the Sun,” amping up the energy once more. Forest Green can tackle these fast-paced songs just as powerfully as the slower, smooth tracks, which makes full album listens a treat. “Dead in a Dream” reminds me of an early Citizen jam, blending the anxious lyricism with moody instrumentation.

“My Window” utilizes both headphones in the intro, a technique I will always praise. What follows is a heavy emo romp that gave me some chills when the vocalist returned to the lower octave in the middle. In Waves finishes with “This is Forever,” a song designated as a closer that sees lots of vocal harmonies work well for Forest Green.

It’s been a minute since I explored this genre, but Forest Green is a welcome addition to the gamut of midwest emo. An adept understanding of the nuances makes this No Sleep Records debut one of note. Check this out if you’re in the particular emo mood!

Rating: 8/10

A press copy of In Waves was provided courtesy of Big Picture Media.