Album Review :
So Long Forgotten - Things We Can See and Things We Cannot

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Artist: So Long Forgotten
Album: Things We Can See and Things We Cannot
Label: Come & Live!
Release Date: August 25, 2009
Review by: Michael Mayer III

Tracklisting:

  1. A River Flows in the Desert
  2. Princess Among Provinces
  3. Hills Humbled, Mountains Made Low
  4. Pretty Mouth and Green My Eyes
  5. An Empire Razed (A Kingdom Raised)
  6. Basilea Basilea
  7. Onward, to the Garden
  8. Banners Over Us
  9. Wonderers or Wanderers
  10. Hosanna
  11. As the Waters Cover the Sea

It’s impossible to listen to Things We Can See and Things We Cannot by So Long Forgotten and not be reminded of recent As Cities Burn and mewithoutYou. Micah’s vocals sound eerily identical to Cody Bonnette’s in nearly every way though the music is a bit different. Because of this, if you were mourning the break-up of As Cities Burn you should immediately check this band out. Most importantly, the largest similarity is that So Long Forgotten have created a fantastic album with deep, introspective lyrics that help them stand out from their peers.

The first thing that struck me upon starting this up is how etheral the guitars are. They sound alive and clear as they set the mood and give each track a distinct vibe. This immediately helped keep the songs from running into each other and becoming too similar. The bass is also far from an afterthought, often supplying a backbone as in ‘An Empire Razed (A Kingdom Raised)’. Occasionally, string arrangements come in along with horns, always at the right time to give a song a boost. ‘Basilea Basilea’ is a great example with it’s slow tempo but perfect timing and interesting drumming. As much as they shine in all areas I was most impressed by the use of backing/gang vocals. At the end of ‘Hosanna’ they add so much to an already fantastic song since they fit lyrically and are so energetic and a blast to listen to. The backing vocals also add to the build-up in the epic closer. Best of all, it sounds like they are having fun.

Another strength of this album is the depth of the lyrics and the way they are delivered. For instance, the lyrics of ‘Banners Over Us’ are sung by Micah in such a perfect and somber way so that it compliments the piano in the background. Or in ‘Pretty Mouth and Green My Eyes’ you can hear the anguish and pleading as he sings of a man struggling with how things turn out in life and ultimately redemption, even if undeserving. At some points the lyrics in these songs aren’t as cut and dry so everyone may have a different interpretation (think old mewithoutYou only hopeful and positive). At other times they are black and white with a common theme of God’s love being a banner over us in a few songs. My personal favorite lyric is found in ‘Hills Humbled, Mountains Made Low’ and says, ‘I pray you have remained a carpenter sanding down my edges ’til I am full of grace’. It’s a simple thought written poetically.

Overall: So Long Forgotten is a band that deserves to have its music heard. You can tell they poured out their souls to create this wonderful piece of art and its positive message of hope and love is a breath of fresh air. Too often it seems like bands who attempt to delve deeper lyrically end up sounding cynical. The length of most songs and the album as a whole may be too much for the impatient crowd but if this type of music is up your alley you likely won’t even notice. It will be very interesting to see what they do from here, and while this may not be a classic album, they show they have that potential. Until then, fans of As Cities Burn, mewithoutYou, and any sort of artistic music would do well to check out Things We Can See and Things We Cannot. Just be sure you give it more than a few spins because it will take some time to grasp all that is going on.

Gems of this album are: ‘Hills Humbled, Mountains Made Low’, ‘Pretty Mouth and Green My Eyes’, ‘Banners Over Us’, ‘Hosanna’

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