After the excellent sophomore album "Mountain Legacy" from last year, dark sludge doomsters Deadsmoke crawl back from the woods of Northern Italy with two further bloody preys in their fangs, neatly packaged in an EP by the name of "Forest of the Damned". The instrumental "Enter the Forest" starts the proceedings on a somehow surprisingly lighter tone, reminiscent in its upbeat rhythm of 70's Hawkwind psychedelic rides - the darkness lingers more on the sides, conveying the feeling, as the title aptly points out, of slowly walking through the trees, down to the heart of the forest. And a black heart it is, as "Gray Ashes of Hope", the second track on the EP, makes abudantly clear: once it kicks in, the rhythm slows down to a crawl and the atmosphere turns to a decidedly menacing one, distorted vocals leading the ritual to a catharsis of heavy guitars and electronic conjurations of evil. Echoes of Neurosis and Bell Witch linger in the air, but the smell is that of a rotten bog. The trees close in after 5'32" and the sacrifice is concluded, swallowing any trace of human presence.