|Forest of Shadows was founded in the autumn of 1997 by me Niclas Frohagen. After months of searching for members to form the band of my dreams I grew tired and decided to make it a solo-project. During this first period I wrote and recorded the songs "The Silent Cry", "Under the Dying Sun", "Moments in Solitude" and "November Dream". These early recordings were later on featured on the '98-promo "Under the Dying Sun".
In the beginning of 1998 Johan Svensson showed interest in the band and joined on guitar/bass. This new line-up didn't last long since we had different aims and after some months Forest of Shadows was once again a one-man band. After Johan's departure I started to redo the recordings of the old songs and in may 1998 the same four songs were released on the first real demo, titled "The Silent Cry". During the release of the demo I got in contact with a friend of a friend, Micce Andersson, who found my band interesting and wanted to help me out. Almost instantly we wrote the opening riff of "Eternal Autumn" and started discussing some old songs to re-record.
In the beginning of 1999 we contacted Katatonia and asked them if we could do a cover of their masterpiece "Rainroom". They approved and we recorded the song as well as a new version of "The Silent Cry". In may 1999, a year after the release of the first demo, we released a promo called "promotion-cd 1999" which featured these two song. The intention of the promo was to show our new direction and sound which was a success since we recieved good critics from both friends and zines. We were really satisfied with what we had accomplished and ready to take it all a step further.
In the autumn of 1999 we decided to try and get some more members and start rehearsing for some live-performances. Martin Claesson, a class-mate of mine, showed interest and joined the band as guitarist in November the very same year. We were now a three-piece with me on vocals/guitar/keyboard, Micce on bass/drums/ violin/keyboard and Martin on guitar. A month later a friend of Micce's, Tommy Rydberg, joined on drums and we were finally ready to start rehearsing for our first gig.
Before the arrival of Martin and Tommy we had started working on a remake of the old song "Under the Dying Sun". Even though they joined the band during this process we decided to do it all without their involvement since we found it the best solution at the time. It was later on released on yet another promotion-CD, a teaser of what was to come and an item made to impress on record-companies. During the release we discovered mp3.com and uploaded the song there together with "The Silent Cry" from the previous CD. Suddenly we could reach out to thousands with our music which was very fascinating. After we had released the promo me, Micce and Martin starting working on what would end up as the song "Wish". This was the first full song written by the entire band and it showed signs of the new, more mature, direction in which we were heading.
On the 17th of February we were to give our first live-performance at the University of Chalmers. Since Tommy hadn't shown up much on the rehearsals and thus wasn't capable of doing the drums Micce had to replace him temporary. Micce's bass-duties were left in the hands of Martin Olsson, a session-musican and friend of Micce's. As if there wasn't enough problems Martin had an accident a day before the gig and couldn't perform. This information reached us some hours before we were to go on stage and we paniced. Fortunatelly we managed to find a replacement quite fast in Martin Petterson of Shubend (another band of mine). We managed to rehearse the songs with him for some hours before we were to go on stage and the gig went ok. The songs we played that evening was "Vårvindar friska" (trad), "The Silent Cry", "Wish" and "Brave" (katatonia-cover).
After the gig we decided to fire Tommy since he lacked of both motivation and talent. Micce replaced him temporarily as there was a new gig coming up and we didn't think we would find a new drummer with such short notice. We were just about to start searching for a session bass-player for the gig when Robert Mårtensson showed up and wanted to join the band. At the time we couldn't afford to say no so we welcomed him almost instantly.
Lacking of new material me and Martin started working on some new lyrics which I added music to. It all resulted in the song "Of Sorrow Blue" which was to be performed on the upcoming gig on the 13th of April. The day came and we did our second gig. A gig that didn't meet our expectations. The sound was horrible and we performed even worse. The main reason was our new bass-player who hadn't shown up on any rehearsals before the gig and thus didn't know what to play. Fortunatelly the majority of the audience wasn't there to see us so they didn't care all that much. But we did and therefore Robert was fired some days after the gig. The songs we played that evening was "Of Sorrow Blue", "The Silent Cry" and "Wish".
A week later we found a session-drummer in Oscar Nathorst of Vinterblod. Micce could now return to his bass-duties and it felt like all was going to be fine again. We finished "Eternal Autumn" and started approaching the recording of the new demo. Our songs on mp3.com started to climb on the charts and we became more and more reputated. Even though everything was going better than ever a tension started growing in the band that more or less killed all motivation continue with our progress. Martin started talking about things he wanted to change in the band which I didn't. I realised that two such strong ideas would tear the band apart so I decided that the band would be better of without him despise all his talents.
Fed by the increasing success at mp3.com me and Micce decided to start all over again as a studio-band and forget about live-performances and rehearsals. We felt that the most important thing at the moment was to focus on the recording of the new demo. These recordings took place at the rehearsal place of my second band, Shubend, with some additional recordings done in Micce's apartment. The recording session lasted during nights and weekends between the 7th of June to 22th of July and was rather painless. Our plan was to get signed with these new songs and use them for a mini-CD. Thus, we didn't set a release- date for whatinitially was just a demo. Nothing happened though and the demo became an item of promotion instead of reaching the audience and since we really wanted to reach the audience with the new stuff we uploaded the entire demo at mp3.com to be downloaded for free. This later on turned out to be our key to success.
The 19th July the song "Under the Dying Sun" reached the #1 position at the metal-chart at mp3.com followed by "The Silent Cry" as #2. Fan-mails started to drop in almost every day now and we started to gain great respect from zines and bands. We were mentioned as one of the more important bands on the rise in the realms of dark-metal. It felt like all these years of struggle had finally started to show some result. And all without having released a proper album!
After a period of about two months as a two-piece studio-band we got in contact with the brothers Fredrik and Richard Johansson who wanted to join on guitar and drums respectively. Based on supressed feelings of more live-performances we decided to give it a try. It all lasted for some rehearsals before we realized that it didn't feel right. It felt like the new influences brought a new direction to the band which me and Micce didn't like and which jeopardized our growing success. Our state had to become more stable before we could think about adding new members. Personally I felt I needed to give the band a small break so I could deal with what was actually happening 'cause the entire situation had made me very confused and unfocused.
Some weeks later we recived a mail which would change the situation. A new record company called Molded Skull Productions contacted us and wanted to release our mCD. Since no other label seemed to show much interest and since we felt our success at mp3.com and the words from the critics showed that we were more than ready to get signed we thought we could give this new company a chance. At the 3rd day of October we signed a contract with them.
The following weeks we were occupied with fixing all the details for the release but we also started to with some new motivation and influence to write new material. Plans of a coming full-length after the mCD were being discussed. Just as everything was starting to head in the right direction MSP started to show signs of unstabillity. And in April 2001 MSP wrote and told us that they were having major problems with their pressing-company which would delay our release quite alot and they suggested us to try and find a new company. This wasn't all that hard since after the day we signed with MSP a couple of companies had contacted us. The one that seemed most interessted in us was the english label Rage of Achilles who had signed my other band Shubend some week earlier. Due to their great interest in our music and their reliabillity based on a couple of other releases we decided to give them a try. And so on the 16th of June we signed a contract with them which included apart from the mCD an upcoming full-length to be released in 2002.
And so on the 29th of October 2001 we had our first "real" release - the mini-CD "where dreams turn to dust". It was well recieved by the press and scored very good for being a debute album. There were high expectations of the upcoming full- length and we really felt that this album had to be special or else we would become just another band. Even before the release of the mCD we had started working on the new material and had very rough versions of all what was to come. After all it was scheduled for a early 2002 release.
Even though we had everything ready at an early stage we just couldn't make the deadline. Time passed and in spring of 2002 we still hadn't started with the final recordings. We were getting desperate at the same time as all true motivation was fading away. What should be that very special album had turned into an album that we just wanted to over and done with. The background to all this was that we had started to disagree about what the album should be like and also didn't meet often enough to keep the process alive. Desperate as we were we decided to give it one last good try and started preparing for a recording session during the spring/summer of 2004. In the midst of all problems we managed to get the song "wish" featured on the rage of achilles compilation "conquest for the empire".
In may 2002 we started the recording-session of the new album. We began at studio noiseLab in Gothenburg by recording the drums. Micce did the main work and was assisted by Shubend-drummer Martin Eriksson. What could have been very good became a distaster since we spent most of the time cursing and messing around with equipment that didn't work instead of doing proper recordings. For a short while we thought that it all could be saved with some major cut-n-paste but we soon gave up. Time went on and the time reserved for the recordings was coming to an end. When I some weeks later moved from Gothenburg to Stockholm I started realising that things would grow even more problematic and it was by then I started thinking about doing it all by myself. Some disagreements later between me and Micce the idea had turned into reality and I was left alone to finish up the album. Well, left alone isn't really true since it was me who decided to go solo.
Since I knew I was about to spend alot of time on my own with the material I took the opportunity to rearrange the songs the way I wanted them. This took alot of valuable time but I felt that it needed to be done. About a year later and after hours and hours of hard work trying to record it all and make it sound the way I wanted it was finally starting to sound like something. There was still alot of engineering and mixing to do before I could leave it all in the hands of Mika Jussila at Finnvox who was supposed to master it.
In the beginning of 2004 the album titled "Departure" was finally finished and ready for mastering. I was told that it would take some time before it could be mastered and released though but I took it all with ease. I just wanted it to be released. After a while I started to get suspicious and during the summer of 2004 I got the shocking news that Rage of Achilles wouldn't be able to release the album due to financial problems. Just when everything started to feel like it couldn't be any worse Rage of Achilles offered to help me out by finding a new label to release "departure". It all resulted in a deal with Finnish "Firedoom", a subdivision to Firebox. Everything went back to normal and the mastering and pressing proceded without any further trouble. Finally, on the 29th of October 2004, three years after the release of the mini-CD, "Departure" was released. And that's the story so far...