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That Which Passes : Please Forgive Me

During my review of the previous (and first) That Which Passes release I claimed several things. The first and foremost being that only those who sympathize with Justin Schaefers' story would enjoy it. This is nearly just as true for 'Please Forgive Me'. I also said in the former review that I would explain why I find Justin's choice of doom metal as the medium of his story. I wish to begin with his own words on the reason he chose as he did:

"We talked for a long time, pontificating depressing abstractions I could use to veil my insecurities, discussing genres that seemed the most appropriate. By the time the conversation ended, we had decided ... to start a doom metal band, or rather, to write songs and play them in the doom metal fashion. I have never been a fan of doom, or metal of any form, but I immediately recognized the value in its ability to express the hopelessness I'd been feeling."

The point I want to make is that even though Justin did not fancy doom metal he still saw its ability to mediate his emotions to the listener. I agree with him and I would claim that - even though I've never met or spoken to the man - 'That Which Passes' does truly possess the human emotions he describes. (That emotional description has already been thoroughly covered in the previous review so I won't repeat it here.) 'That Which Passes' ended up as a middle ground where the duo mellowed doom metal into a melancholy edible by listeners who aren't as interested in doom metal as I am, and as I would suppose the reader is. It reminds me of bands/projects like Nathan P. Holly, Swans, Canaan, and This Empty Flow. Though, unlike the last three mentioned, 'That Which Passes' has (in my opinion) retained true doom elements.

In a way I'm not surprised that 'Please Forgive Me' strayed away from doom metal and onto a genre which Justin feels more at home with. I was however surprised to find that this new genre was not just jazzy pop/rock but also country & western. This demo contains doomy pop in the vein of This Empty Flow and Klimt 1918, but sometimes with a country & western basis. The song 'Psycho' is a particularly good example of this. And yet, because the demo still retains a very doomy aura, it would have been a country/doom release if it had contained any metal at all. I wouldn't be so surprised if I were you, after all Johnny Cash has by covering 'Hurt' already shown that true depression can be portrayed even in the stetson genre. And now that That Which Passes have had a go at this concoction they've proven it to work. They're not as catchy or mainstream friendly as mr. Cash, but, unlike his coversong, 'Psycho' actually moves me. And that is in itself a success; I normally detest country & western.

Now. Despite my praises of this album I doubt that most doomsters will find this of interest. Not because this is a bad album in any way, but because I suspect that most doomsters will feel that something is missing. Thus, in a way the duo detaches itself from our scene with 'Please Forgive Me'. I do honestly now know where the project now belongs in terms of genre of fanbase, but because Justin follows a path proven true by his life he cannot truly fail just because his musical path doesn't have a major appeal. In fact, even if he does achieve a grand success then that is just a minor victory in light of what he has already achieved in surviving his personal nightmare.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. The Apartment's Single Bed
2. Where Do We Go Now But Nowhere?
3. Judecca, Lead Me Home
4. Please Forgive Me
5. Psycho

Duration : Approx. 32 minutes.

Visit the That Which Passes bandpage.

Reviewed on 11-05-2010 by Arnstein Petersen
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