Video Review – Foscor – “Those Horrors Wither”

This is an inaugural attempt at a new idea, which may have its own special feature at some point, or become as regular as our music reviews, but at this late hour, on this day, this brain is short on genius.  So let's keep it clear what it is, a video review.  The critical difference here is that we will not be focusing on the music at all, merely the video itself as art.  Does it provide a visual representation to the sound?  What is its balance of color and light?  What kinds of textures does it rely on for atmosphere?  These are the kinds of issues we'll be considering in such reviews.  Today's selection comes from Spain's Foscor.  Our first exposure to these guys was through a friendly chat on Facebook, and then one of them sent a vinyl copy of their latest release, Those Horrors Wither, but it's unfortunately older than what we usually cover.  Luckily, they were finishing up a new video for the title track, and that's what we're checking out today.

 

Foscor is Catalan for 'darkness', which some of you might know, but their music, though dark, covers a variety of areas and is honestly one of the more interesting releases we've encountered, especially in terms of vocal delivery. But let's keep the discussion of the music restricted to that and move on to the task at hand, their newest video.  Conceived as part of the band's progress into 2016, which is their 15-year anniversary, and a further development of analyzing human emotion, this one was just finished recently.  Filming was primarily the work of RFH Photography and Irati Photography, with editing completed by Falke, Foscor's founding member and lead guitarist.  "Those Horrors Wither" comes after their first video single, "Graceful Pandora", which was released roughly a year ago. Here it be:

"Those Horrors Wither" opts for the approach of emulating silent cinema, something Guy Maddin has proven countless times can be extremely effective for creating a presence of the macabre and depraved.  Of course, metal typically opts for degradation, so this approach would seem ideal for Foscor, or at least this particular track and its lyrical direction.  Visually, the usage of black and white is perfected several times with clear balance of light versus dark, such as the repeating shot of a series of candles melting in darkness. The primary story revolves around a young woman (same actress from their last video) in a stark forest.  Artistically speaking, there are two noticeable mistakes.  First, in an attempt to emulate silent cinema, the processing of this video involved a filter to create the random static of old film.  The problem is it relies on a created pattern.  Pay attention and you'll see repeating suggestions of dust and scratches, which completely destroys the aesthetic once you realize it's created.  Two, more importantly, the main actress in "Those Horrors Wither" only has a few moments where she seems in character, primarily because the shots rely heavily on time lapse photography.  For the majority it's clear she's moving as instructed because of this, and does not provide a sense of living within her role.  This is readily obvious while she pulls herself along the ground near the beginning, appearing too human with a slack laziness to her movements instead of like a reptile, which was clearly the idea.  For only a few moments does she become her character, for example around the 2:49 mark where she rotates her body while running her fingers morosely through her hair.  This particular segment is the most interesting, contrasting her body with the somber, natural surroundings behind her. Unfortunately, this is partially marred by a continuous usage of visual effects to animate her body beyond human potential.  It's somewhat excessive, not permitting her to completely break free of the confines of her passive acting style, which to be fair is quite difficult without a ton of experience because separate shots are taken over a much longer period of time.

 

The other big issue here is the symbolism, which is largely left up to the viewer. This can be a powerful approach, but here, instead, is a weakness. According to Foscor's press release for "Those Horrors Wither", they were seeking to symbolize what they refer to as "the hex of life", which are essentially three levels of existence all human beings must encounter.  These are our relationship with our surroundings, others, and ourselves.  Reading this in the promo leaflet and watching the video again meaning is much more clear, but is entirely lost at first glance and requires far too much input on the part of the viewer to even grasp the idea.  Suffice to say, it's nearly impossible to come to that conclusion without their explanation, which the average viewer does not, and likely will not, possess.  A perfect example of this is during a later scene (see image at the start of this review) involving the main actress and a man with pale skin standing above her draped in a white shroud. It was entirely confusing, providing no obvious context, even after several views, until reading through what the band intended, in their own words.  As a whole "Those Horrors Wither" is a finer production than what we see out of most underground metal videos, and their attempt to create a story that symbolically relates to their music as a whole is commendable, but is lacking in proper and complete construction of the idea through visuals.

 

Foscor Official Facebook

Written by Stanley Stepanic

Foscor: "Those Horrors Wither" (video)
3.3 / 5