Release DetailsLABEL Oak Knoll Productions
RELEASED ON 3/24/2004
Astral Forest Winds
posted on 4/2005 By:
As yet another release from the Oak Knoll vaults had fallen into my anxious hands, without hearing a single second of the disc, I held no reservations of Astral Forest Winds being anything short of exceptional. Acting partly as the MetalReview expert on the small Massachusetts start-up label, I have developed a keen sense on what to expect from the acts that comprise the Oak Knoll roster; an anthology of outstanding metal gems that are certain to tickle my fancy no matter what mood I may be in. To put it bluntly, these guys really know how to pick ‘em. With that in mind, I eagerly proceeded to tear through the packaging that enclosed the EP in question. Lo and behold, my prior assessment was confirmed almost immediately after pressing the play button. Oak Knoll had done it again.
Relying greatly on their ‘primal’ instincts, Sweden’s EverMörk perform what they refer to as ‘Astral’ metal. Inherently, the three tracks that make up Astral Forest Winds are the band's own take on blackened melodic death. By design, the EP settles somewhere between the black metal realms of old Dissection and Dawn, while closer examination reveals the band harnessing a Gothenburg mentality that recalls Lunar Strain era In Flames. Essentially, EverMörk are a Swedish band that sounds, well, Swedish.
The trio effectively employ an in and out attack. Each song on Astral Forest Winds comes and goes in an instant, yet is guaranteed to linger in your head far after this ten minute assault has ended. Infectious melodic riffs and textured guitars are coupled with grim blackened vocals (think of a better Shagrath) and layered atop battering drum work with some insanely swift double bass. Much like Vintersorg (but less mathematical and complex), visuals of cosmic retribution paint a pretty picture of mankind’s demise; A hot theme in EverMörk’s lyrics. The sky is indeed falling, ladies and gentlemen, and EverMörk just may be your only key to survival.
The production for Astral Forest Winds takes on a quality similar to that of a mid-grade streaming internet radio station. This particular aspect of the band’s debut doesn’t take away from the explosive experience by any means. In fact, the recording actually adds a touch of unique flavor to the listen. Being that the majority of the acts that currently play this type of music tend to be more polished in the studio department, in my opinion this only exposes the true nature of EverMörk; fun dark metal that never takes itself too seriously.
In all the confusion of underground metal genres, sub-genres, and sub-subgenres, the last thing we need is additional style classifications. However, after exploring Astral Forest Winds, it is certain that the metal world will embrace EverMörk's ‘Astral’ metal.
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