A Forest Of Stars
The Corpse Of Rebirth
posted on 9/2009 By:
What got my attention for the debut of this English black metal act was not only the quality of some recent British, atmospheric black metal such as Winterfylleth, Altar of Plagues (Ireland I know), Fen and such, but that A Forest of Stars’ The Corpse of Rebirth features violinist Kate stone, before she appeared on My Dying Bride’s most recent effort, For Lies I Sire. Organic, mystical and atmospheric black metal (from the UK) with violins? Bring it.
However, my expectations were not entirely satiated. With 5 tracks clocking in at over an hour, this album will have some appeal to the aforementioned acts as well as icons Wolves in the Throne Room, but the lengthy, sprawling nature of the album has a lot of droning, ambient, moments that come across as either dreamy well done tangents or filler between the enthralling violin and the often underwhelming and vocally grating, primal black metal.
Still, there are indeed some solid moments on display, namely the ones featuring Stone and her haunting violin lines that fill impressive opening 11 minute track “God.” With this track A Forest of Stars deliver everything positive and negative about the band's delivery, from the ebb and build of the intro to some steady black metal, to supine violins and flutes, to some down right odd vocals and time changes and wasted ambience. And thus goes the rest of the slightly overdrawn but at times mesmerizing album.
Second track, “Female” cranks up the intensity a little bit, but even with Stone's evocative hues, it has a needless grating section about 9 minutes in, and lots of warbling, grating the vocals, which moan and shriek with mood ruining affinity. However, Stone sets things right with some sultry female vocals to start the moody and psychedelic “Male,” where A Forest of Stars show a more experimental and impressive side of their sound that imbues a more acoustic based, blackened, almost Amber Asylum-ish melancholy, that should definitely be the focus of future releases as the band's attempted injections of nihilistic, raw black metal are less than effective (start of “Earth an Matter” though the tribal mid song break is ambience done right). Closer “Microcosm” starts as a downright mess of elements but once Stone takes over vocal duties and the song takes a 70's prog /Pink Floyd tone, it actually sounds rather breathtaking.
There is a ton of potential for this act to be the UK’s answer to Wolves in the Throne Room, and with Stone’s elegant violins there’s an extra element there to elevate them. However, they need to trim down their sound a tad and either develop the experimentation or tighten the black metal (or both), as right now they clash a bit. First though, they need a new main vocalist as ‘Mister Curse’ derails most of the positives that the band has.
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