A Forest Of Stars     

Opportunistic Thieves Of Spring

Transcendental Creations 2010

The review of the sophomore album from Avantgarde black metallers A Forest Of Stars has been a loooooong time coming.  I have been mulling it over in my head as to why I sat on this so long after enjoying their debut so much.  I think it is because I didn't really know how to take the album.  I have always viewed A Forest Of Stars as enigmatic and theatrical, and this album is both of those things, however it is also a bit darker and more primitive than one might expect.  Rough, black metal riffs dance macabrely across unsettling arcs of noise and undercurrents of muted synth on the album's opener, Sorrow's Impetus.  The riffs are fuzzed out traditional black metal and approach hypnotic repetition early on before billowing to the wayside as folk drums and mournful strings yearn against the darkness.  The strings completely take over the track in the sparse beauty before the metallic riffs pick themselves up and gain momentum.  The composition eventually works its way to a shimmering oasis of strings and cacophonous drums.  Ravens Eye View starts with some strange, anti-melodic guitar fumblings that somehow remind me of Voivod.  But the song quickly careens into blasting black metal that is dark as pitch until it collapses into solemn violin and flute textures accented by violent riff passages.  Summertide's Approach starts with a perfect gypsy musical piece before straying into periods of doomy blackened death.  The piano section at the 4:50 mark was a stroke of forlorn beauty which can be felt throughout the song's 13 minute length.  I guess in the end I was hoping for something that was slightly more pompous and grandiose.  I thought the instrument layering would be more dense, but somehow felt like it was more sparse.  The rain sample and nocturnal keyboard that introduce the album's closer, Delay's Progression, were well timed and filled me with an air of nostalgia.  The song for me loses a bit of its mood and momentum when the guitar slides in and the whispered female vocals wash over the composition.  The track regains a bit of its footing with the shimmering guitar and electronically enhanced vocals which sound like they could have been ripped from a Skinny Puppy song.  Finally the music transforms to emotional black metal at the 11:05 mark.  The keyboard line is key to this segment hitting me so hard.  So in the end I was slightly underwhelmed by these demented gypsies.  Not to mention the album was overly long, clocking in at an hour and 12 minutes.  But with those things said, this is still an album of the highest quality and a singular vision that is both earthy and otherworldly.