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A FOREST OF STARS

Experimental/Post Metal • United Kingdom


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A Forest Of Stars biography
Formed in Leeds, Yorkshire, UK in 2007

A FOREST OF STARS is a progressive metal band from the United Kingdom consisting of Mister Curse (vocals), Katheryne, Queen of the Ghosts (violin, flute, vocals), The Gentleman (synthesizers, pianoforte, drums) and Mr. T.S. Kettleburner (guitar, bass, vocals).

Their debut album "The Corpse of Rebirth" was initially self produced and released of 100 copies and on cassette by IexMN of 300 copies before being released on Transcendental Creations in 2008.

WHY THIS BAND IS IN THE ARCHIVES:

A FOREST OF STARS is a very experimental band with male and female vocals mixing psychedelic, ambience, and black metal. They feature violin in place of a second guitar, flutes, and synthesizers that create dark and haunting compositions. They were approved by the Prog Metal Team and are very highly recommended!

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A Shadowplay For Yesterdays (Ltd. Edition)A Shadowplay For Yesterdays (Ltd. Edition)
Limited Edition
Prophecy Productions 2012
$14.67
$15.05 (used)
The Corpse Of RebirthThe Corpse Of Rebirth
Lupus Lounge 2011
$12.03
$7.74 (used)
Beware The Sword You Cannot SeeBeware The Sword You Cannot See
Prophecy 2018
$21.01
$29.04 (used)
A Shadowplay For Yesterdays (Ltd. Edition) by A Forest Of StarsA Shadowplay For Yesterdays (Ltd. Edition) by A Forest Of Stars
Prophecy Productions
$40.86
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A FOREST OF STARS discography


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A FOREST OF STARS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.98 | 26 ratings
The Corpse Of Rebirth
2008
4.30 | 35 ratings
Opportunistic Thieves Of Spring
2010
4.23 | 39 ratings
A Shadowplay For Yesterdays
2012
3.84 | 75 ratings
Beware the Sword You Cannot See
2015
4.00 | 2 ratings
Grave Mounds and Grave Mistakes
2018

A FOREST OF STARS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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A FOREST OF STARS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

A FOREST OF STARS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Opportunistic Thieves Of Spring by FOREST OF STARS, A album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.30 | 35 ratings

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Opportunistic Thieves Of Spring
A Forest Of Stars Experimental/Post Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

5 stars A FOREST OF STARS experienced absolutely zero slump on their sophomore album OPPORTUNISTIC THIEVES OF SPRING. Already on their debut 'The Corpse Of Rebirth,' this Leeds, England based post-black metal band that loves to dress up all Victorian displayed a stunning maturity as they seamlessly melded a 70s progressive folk style with all the modern day atmospheric black metal touches which included extensive use of sophisticated dark ambient passages and wove it all into dreamy celestial realms. While the fearless fusion was the result of their bold experimental approach, the effect was one of the most well laid out examples of how to adapt a marriage of psychedelic folk and caustic black metal within the greater context of an extended post-rock paradigm.

OPPORTUNISTIC THIEVES OF SPRING takes the band even further into the deepest recesses of their fertile imaginations and creates another staggering journey into the slow burn world of monumental epic tracks that extend to infinity and beyond. Well, to be honest on this one, two of the six tracks actually do NOT hit the ten minute mark but the epic sprawl of the opener 'Sorrow's Impetus' dips past the 13 minute mark and the grand finale in the form of 'Delay's Progression' extends all the way past 16. While it sounds like the ultimate test of patience and the perfect recipe for an overweening post-whatever album to wear out its welcome by the second track, somehow A FOREST OF STARS breathe vitality into every cadence and every rhythmic drive that emulates from their magic grab bag of ideas.

As with the debut, this second offering relies on a post-rock driven atmospheric flow that delivers the expected gentle slow burning approach that ratchets up the intensity to bombastic blackened crescendoes. Also all along the way, the musical march is haunted by the mournful melancholy of Katheryne, Queen Of Ghosts' foik-laden violin performances with the occasional flute accouterments to add that extra folky flavor. Also back for a reprise are the Ralph Vaughan Williams inspired classical touches that find their way to the surface during the brevity of the piano tinkling but comprise a structural underpinning that offers a complexity not apparent to the casual listener. Add the black metal bombast which tackles the usual suspects of tremolo picking, bombastic riffs and distortion like there's no tomorrow and the band ratchets up their successful formula a few notches by adding touches of accordion and sitar just to name a few.

What probably propels OPPORTUNISTIC THIEVES OF SPRING a few notches above and beyond 'The Corpse Of Rebirth' is the prowess of the six compositions that finds the band delivering a much more interesting flow of musical ideas as they hit their stride. The black metal, folk, classical and post-rock elements have mastered cosmic bliss as they perfect the marriage of elements that unleash pure magic. What? This album is really 72 minutes long and i didn't get bored? How often does that happen? Interestingly enough, the music never once misses a beat. It flows impeccably as one sonically stretched epic track cedes into the next. This is music to get lost in and despite the metal elements, has more in common with chamber orchestra works from previous centuries than anything from the second wave of black metal.

Despite a classical / psychedelic chamber folk band in metal clothing setting, A FOREST OF STARS sets itself apart from its contemporaries and the band doesn't shy away from unleashing the full effects of black metal bombast. Mister Curse delivers his insane asylum theatrical vocal style unapologetically with glee while blastbeats and distorted tremolo guitar picking aggressive dominate the subdued violin and piano sounds that only emerge when the metal takes a breather. Whereas the debut had more of a predictable flow as the atmospheric and folk touches tended to initiate the process and allow the metal to build up its intensity, on OPPORTUNISTIC THIEVES OF SPRING, the band throws in more curve balls and carves their compositions into suite-like creations of epic proportion. It's almost like a black metal opera version of Sigur Ros as the hypnotic repetition mixes and melds with the extreme metal decibalage.

Also for good measure, A FOREST OF STARS still sounds a lot like the (more progressive) atmospheric black metal counterpart to My Dying Bride as both bands rely heavily on a dirge-like violin line to create the proper elegiac elements which in this care are amplified by the spooky cosmic dark ambience and post-black metal heft. Notably as the standout of the crowd, 'Starfire's Memory' offers a diverse mix of clean male and female vocals in addition to Mr. Curse's unhinged shrieks of insanity. On their sophomore album OPPORTUNISTIC THIEVES OF SPRING, i have to say that A FOREST OF STARS hits musical perfection as every STAR within this FOREST aligned in astrological perfection. Every single aspect about this one exudes a grace and elegance unlike most albums that would fall into the greater black metal universe. This is clearly designed for connoisseurs of musical diversity because if the listener isn't fully onboard long interludes of formless dark ambience, post-rock repetition or black metal bombast, one's attention span could easily be derailed however for my money, this one is a bloody masterpiece!

 The Corpse Of Rebirth by FOREST OF STARS, A album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.98 | 26 ratings

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The Corpse Of Rebirth
A Forest Of Stars Experimental/Post Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars The great shapeshifting metal subgenre that we call black metal never ceases to amaze me as it seems utterly adaptable to just about every other stylistic development conceivable. A few short years beyond the second wave's domination of the early 90s, bands were branching off like a canopy off the trunk of a tree and becoming less and less like what anyone would've conceived as for metal music several years prior. A FOREST OF STARS is yet another band that continued the fertile grounds of cross-pollinating musical genres into a completely different beast altogether. Founded in 2007 in Leeds, England and named after a British Gentlemen's Club, this band has concocted an interesting blend of post-black metal infused with classical, folk and psychedelia.

The band contrasts two seemingly opposing themes as it tackles a rather primeval Pagan ritualistic effect on its Gaian themed debut THE CORPSE OF REBIRTH and much like its paradoxically titled debut, the band members take on Victorian personas with names such as The Gentleman (keyboards, pianoforte, percussion, drums), Mister Curse (vocals), Katie Stone (vocals, violin, flute) and Mr. T.S. Kettleburner (vocals, guitar, bass). The contrast between the old world sensibilities brought forth by classical fortified constructs inspired by Ralph Vaughan Williams with 21st century black metal reminiscent of Dornenreich and Ulver brings out a downright lugubrious and mysterious run of five sprawling tracks that extend to the cosmos and back.

Of the five tracks only one falls below the ten minute mark at a "shortened" time run of nine and a half minutes. The opening track "God" takes its sweet time to warm up before it closes at the sixteen and a half minute mark. The track characterizes the band's overall atmospheric post-black style that exhibits a melancholic violin presence throughout the album immediately bringing the somewhat similar sound that My Dying Bride accomplishes in a doom metal context. Indeed A FOREST OF STARS does implement doom metal aspects at times to their music but for the most part the post-metal aspects deliver a steady flow of repetitive tremolo picked riffs and thunderously distorted chords that ratchet up the tension and climax as the distorted black metal guitar riffs aggressively bob up and down behind the rather sedated violin, flute and percussive beat.

Perhaps the greatest make or break of the deal comes in the eccentric vocal form of Mister Curse's idiosyncratic delivery of pure lunacy as he sounds as if he's on the verge of a mental breakdown. In this regard the closest analogy is that of the early Summoning albums. It's a strange avant-garde mix of ingredients with lunatic vocals narrating a Pagan concept under the guise of Victorian post- black metal. The underpinning of the music seems to be based in the Vaughan Williams classical inspiration most easily pegged when the piano pieces dominate and the violin wails like a sad cat howling in an alley somewhere in a cold unforgiving city setting. The music does come off a bit like the psychedelic rock of Pink Floyd as well especially when it throws in some drum rolls reminiscent of "The Dark Side Of The Moon," such as on the transition from non-metal to black tremolo picking on "Female."

For a debut album, this one has been released with multiple album covers. There's the initial CD-R red photo album cover with the logo, the white counterpart, a black and white swirl effect version and another limited edition with a white background and floral geometric configuration. This music is surprisingly hypnotic even when it's at its full black metal aggressive glory. The violin never gets buried beneath the din which brings up the amazingly well mixed production job that allows all of the sounds to sound balanced in glorious perfection. Despite the tracks extending to lengthy time runs, the music takes the listener on a journey and doesn't get repetitively dull. It plays itself out and creates psychedelic interludes that naturally fit into the overall theme. This debut from A FOREST OF STARS exemplifies the band's unique approach from the very beginning which has gained it high regards in the experimental atmospheric side of the black metal world.

 Opportunistic Thieves Of Spring by FOREST OF STARS, A album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.30 | 35 ratings

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Opportunistic Thieves Of Spring
A Forest Of Stars Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars A Forest of Stars offers up a broader range of sounds than expected for black metal, even in the experimentation- happy realms of the "atmospheric" subgenre of it. Between them Mister Curse on shrieked vocals, T.S. Kettleburner on guitar and bass, and John "the Resurrectionist" Bishop on drums provide all the tools for the black metal side of the equation, but the inclusion of the Gentleman on synths and pianoforte and Katheryne, Queen of the Ghosts on violin and flute allows them to incorporate ambient, folk and Victorian chamber music influences into their sounds.

On this second album, they indulge themselves with long song structures that allow all of these diverse sounds to come together in a psychedelically-tinged blend. Like much of the atmospheric black metal subgenre, this isn't an album for dipping into and out of - you'll want to listen to it all the way through to get its full effect - but I'd say it's decidedly worth setting that listening time aside for.

 A Shadowplay For Yesterdays by FOREST OF STARS, A album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.23 | 39 ratings

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A Shadowplay For Yesterdays
A Forest Of Stars Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Alucard Draco

5 stars It's about time this Album has another remark made about it as quite frankly it blooming well deserves it. When I first heard of this band it was the sheer delight the players (artists) named themselves! It's an album that makes me feel that I am in a dark underground theatre room in a building found in the shadows of a dark alley with traditional Gas lamps outside casting silhouettes of monstrositys in the foreground as you hear old London Town in the distance a few dark streets off this foreboding passage in 1900's Victorian splendour. The audience gathers in this decrepit traditional theatre house and all aghast as the act in front of them (this band) play an album of such Eldritch depiction that you wander if you'll ever be the same again.

It is the sheer ambition of catching the correct sound evoking that exact feeling the band want you to feel but all with modern instruments and top sound recording. You really have to respect these guys who know exactly what they want portrayed in their sound and literally master it. This could be a metal album but really it's an album which just does what it needs to do to get that atmosphere across.

It's as if the music has caught a melancholy piece of music you could hear from an old Victorian music hall and has been redone with instruments of today and then some. The vocals are theatrical in execution and the ghosts from the days of old come drifting from the past and with some mastering of the Arcane Magiks give a feeling of a mysterious sadness or anger, regret, mysticism - basically whatever the listener takes as what they are hearing and comes to their own thoughts as to what this album is getting across.

This bands previous albums and the one which comes after this one are always making sure there is enough difference in all their offerings so to give a different type of feeling from one album to the next. I highly recommend this band and this album in particular from the stage names these artists call themselves the album covers and song titles for each track - Everything is really done to get this mixture of musical sounds and verse which H P Lovecraft could write a Cosmic Horror tale from as he watches from the rows of seats with other onlookers at this wonderful act and hope it will never end.

So please Partake in this offering and Enjoy.

 Beware the Sword You Cannot See by FOREST OF STARS, A album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.84 | 75 ratings

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Beware the Sword You Cannot See
A Forest Of Stars Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

5 stars 'Beware the Sword You Cannot See' - A Forest of Stars (87/100)

(Originally written for Heathen Harvest Periodical)

With each new offering by British innovators A Forest of Stars, there comes the promise of challenge and reward in roughly proportionate measure. There's arguably more initial charm to them than many of the other sonic artisans that earn the 'avant-garde black metal' label, but the depth and density they've injected into their work since The Corpse of Rebirth demands each of their albums be approached with a patient, attentive ear. Beware the Sword You Cannot See is no exception in this regard; swirling layers of black metal once again form the foundation beneath an angel's choir of eccentric howls and violins. Now moreso than ever, their audacious grasp of composition pays homage in no small part to classic progressive rock. A Forest of Stars are psychotic, but accessibly so; while many of their tricks are shared with others in the avant-metal sphere, they navigate these treacherous waters with a sense of personality and coherence intact. Given that I know quite a few people who normally steer clear of the avant-garde for the perceived lack of those two things, A Forest of Stars have made a distinguished contribution to the experimental landscape.

Beware the Swore You Cannot See may very well be the most ambitious and monumental work A Forest of Stars have done to date too; possibly even better than their third full-length A Shadowplay for Yesterdays, a playful near-masterpiece that stole my heart a few years back. At this point in particular, calling A Forest of Stars a black metal band would be as fitting as referring to a poutine as 'french fries.' There's no question where the fundaments of their sound are coming from, sure, but the experience itself is different enough to warrant the description irrelevant. Though the same could be well-said for each of the four AFoS records to date, Beware the Sword You Cannot See sounds like the natural amalgamation of a number of influences, progressive rock not least of all included among them. My first listen had me placing them somewhere the capricious barrage of uneXpect, the dark wit of The Meads of Asphodel and the playful anxiety of Sigh; hell, it would be just as well to imagine them as the kind of music Comus might have made, had they formed as a metal band this side of the new millennium. Fortunately, in the case of A Forest of Stars, direct comparisons only go so far; they've carved out a distinct identity for themselves over the course of four records. Their destiny is not linked with any particular influence. Even in a genre so presumably forward-thinking as avant-garde metal, it's a lamentably rare thing to see.

Beware the Sword You Cannot See begins on one of its brightest moments. "Drawing Down the Rain" ranks among the best songs yet heard in 2015. Taking no time to get started, A Forest of Stars begin sounding closer to post-rock than the avant-garde. The soaring post-black atmosphere is complimented further by the violin, an instrument avant-metallers love to use but few ever manage to do so successfully. Especially early on in the album, much of the implication of AFoS's relative 'weirdness' lies in the eclectic styles and off-kilter vocal performance of Mr. Curse. With regards to the former, it is not uncommon for the band to shift gears several times throughout a song. Frantic bursts of black metal (replete with blastbeats and all else the term entails) are contrasted with slower passages that often recall Pink Floyd. The eclecticism culminates here on "Pawn on the Universal Chessboard", a would-be epic that, on top of the previous comparisons, conjures everything from Van der Graaf Generator to Moonsorrow. Variety alone would not have been enough to impress me, but the band's adventurous charisma manages to tie these strange bends in a way that sounds coherent and structured. Once again, that's not something you see everyday in avant-garde metal.

Although A Forest of Stars' performance is as well-rounded and powerful as ever, my highest praise is reserved for the album's vocals. Even amidst the music's most tender moments, Mr. Curse sounds like he's at the brink of a nervous breakdown. There are times when he nears the misanthropic rumblings of Metatron from The Meads of Asphodel; at others, he evokes the surreal sprechgesang of Current 93's David Tibet. Evocative lyrics remain a staple quality in A Forest of Stars' work. It is vulgar poetry of an obsessive sort, at once eager to immerse you in psychosis and anxiety.

A Forest of Stars are one such band that really benefits from their surrounding mythology and image, even though it doesn't have a particularly staunch impact on the music itself. Just like I can't listen to Akercocke without thinking of aristocratic upperclassmen, or The Meads of Asphodel without thinking of Medieval heretics obsessed with the nuances of Biblical apocrypha, A Forest of Stars have an undeniably British personality to them that is only amplified by their manufactured pseudo-Victorian image. Though the late 19th century is usually looked back upon as a time of apparent prudishness, it was probably better defined by its anxieties and confusion. Victorian England was a mania of new ideas and new experiences. It was a time where scientific elucidation was growing at a far greater rate than the education of the common man. It was a perfect time for ghosts and ghouls to be born. While I don't think A Forest of Stars have ever captured the Victorian era in their music (there weren't too many bands playing black metal in the 1890s anyways) but the visual and conceptual aesthetic compliments the creepy atmosphere perfectly.

2015 has already been rife with some incredible albums, and Beware the Sword You Cannot See is already poised to rank among the most memorable of them. A Forest of Stars have conjured another near-masterpiece, composed of equal parts horror and euphoria. Admittedly, the collection of styles they're playing with is a grocery list of what I like most in music, but it takes a special sort of band to get this eclectic and eccentric without losing sense of themselves. Beware the Sword You Cannot See is a marvellous piece of work, and even then, I don't think A Forest of Stars have hit their peak yet.

 A Shadowplay For Yesterdays by FOREST OF STARS, A album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.23 | 39 ratings

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A Shadowplay For Yesterdays
A Forest Of Stars Experimental/Post Metal

Review by bartosso

5 stars All this magnificence has crowded my cranium !

- England, 1892 -

In an industrial town known to most of its inhabitants as Yonder Town, lived a man who was a puppeteer by profession. He was performing every evening, always in the same venue, stooping over his grimy puppets, drowned out by noise and shrouded in acrid smoke coming from a nearby factory. Always wearing the same checked vest and worn-out hat, he became a part of that God forgotten place: a narrow paved street with crooked tenements crowding around like frozen guardians of hopeless lives.

Labourers of ghostly stature were passing by, exhausted and apathetic, going back home only to prepare for another day of hard slog. Their bodies seemed to be separated from the mind, controlled by invisible strings, saving them from falling into puddles of mud and excrement. They didn't even notice that every performance of the puppeteer was different from the other, that he always had a different story to weave. I halted there once, unseen, hidden. I listened to the puppeteer, I watched his ephemeral spectacle:

"Once upon a time there was a lady of no repute, One Miss Crow, who, by force of a certain stranger, had engaged in violent night-time actions, against her very will.

Resulting from this invasion came, an aberration of desperation, a horror in all but name, A stoop-backed boy, short of stature, violent by nature; to be expelled from the womb in late November..."

...

That's how I imagine the beginning of this story. For it's not an ordinary album we're talking about here. Being released by Prophecy Productions (Alcest, Falkenbach), A SHADOWPLAY FOR YESTERDAYS is a musical experience, abundant in soundscapes of an otherworldly nature. That's what happens when the band puts heart and soul into the music. And when it's a Victorian bunch of geniuses. If avant-garde metal with noticeable black, psychedelic and folk element is to your liking, I strongly encourage you to read through the following paragraphs... or just get the album and ignore the rest.

I encountered some negative opinions concerning the sound of the album and I must admit that compared to oppressive sound of OPPORTUNISTIC THIEVES OF SPRING it may seem a bit flat. It appears that the difference between these two records has not been taken into account though. A SHADOWPLAY FOR YESTERDAYS is much less monolithic and thereby more space for psychedelic folk elements has been gained. Songs are multi-layered and full of influences from genres outside the metal one. That's why I find this bright production perfectly suitable for the music. Moreover, the sound is natural and organic which is a big advantage in my book.

A Forest of Stars is a band - or should I say a gentlemen's club - with a vision. Bands of this kind are very rare. Not only a band with a vision creates its own style, weave a concept and infuse it with life. It also makes the whole process irrelevant to the listener, makes him think about the music and concept as one consistent piece of art, completely apart and unique... whew, okay, enough of this loftiness. What we've got here is an avant-garde metal music, infused with psychedelic ambiance of Victorian occultism. All this created with the use of violin, retro-sounding piano, ominous clean vocals, accordion, flute, two different pigs, brooding samples and several electronic devices of unknown nature. Oppressive black metal element, known from OPPORTUNISTIC THIEVES OF SPRING, receded into the background but don't worry, it still has an important role to play. Most of all, however, the way this album flows, how unthinkable it is to listen just to one of the tracks instead of submerging into the whole thing and savour it in its entirety... that's what I think is the most amazing about the Club's youngest creation.

A SHADOWPLAY FOR YESTERDAYS is strongly recommended to all those who love adventurous music. What does it mean? I hasten to explain that the word "adventurous" incorporates - in this very case - dark and reflection-provoking concept, enveloped in an ominous Victorian ambiance and executed with the use of music and emotional harsh vocals by Mister Curse. The music itself is composed in a multi-layered fashion, with impetuous and harsh character, usually attributed to black metal. And, from my point of view, it's just brilliant.

...

"... A fast track to sorrow in a world bred slow. From foetid seed, a poison tree with a venomous bark did grow.

He was to work all the hours his sorry god sent, a resident of fantasy, living a life of lament. He was to have no living lovers, no-one on who to depend. Yet his friends were to call him Carrion, the friends inside his head... "

 Opportunistic Thieves Of Spring by FOREST OF STARS, A album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.30 | 35 ratings

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Opportunistic Thieves Of Spring
A Forest Of Stars Experimental/Post Metal

Review by TheOppenheimer

5 stars Opportunistic Thieves of Spring is a really interesting metal journey for the prog listener, and an outstanding eclectic one for the metal fan.

You will find black metal passages full of power and fast pacing, and some deep violin harmonies, growls, digitalized vocals, and lots of surprises. LOTS of surprises.

1. Sorrow's Impetus (13:01) (4/5) The album begins with some noisy soundscape, that slowly fades into the first black metal verse of the album. Tremolo guitars, blast beats, and growls, nothing that was never seen. It looks like the average black metal album. Suddenly the violin comes in, weeping gently, over the blast beats. The "average black metal" turns into a middle-eastern, violin-driven, distorted fantasy, leaving the listener with a mouth-open, ear-gasmic exotic feeling. Not even 4 minutes have passed. A slow, tranquil section begins, with clean/chorused guitars, and the violin. Then BLAST! More metal, but this time, more powerful and less speedy. This is amazing! I want more! And the violin never stopped adding that mellow feel to the thing. Another ambiental section at the 9 minute-or-so mark; with lots of layers and wall of sound, that suddenly breaks out in a lo-fi guitar and drum only riff. The song comes back to "normal" again, ending with that violin-black metal that AFOS is distinguishable of. And this is just the beginning.

2. Raven's Eye View (9:23) (5/5) Strange guitar sounds, strange piano (marimba? wtf is that sound?), and strange modd in general, until the black metal kicks in, and brings the listener to that "wow this is splendid" sort of euforia. But wait, there's more. After that, the all-mighty violin appears again, in a just-a-bit slower riff, that sounds particularly good, leaving you wanting for more. Then, [%*!#] it, some kind of folky bridge, with rare instruments and stuff. These guys are nuts. Unpredictable, yet natural. The flute appears with a peaceful and moody melody, that suddenly gets all tense and moody (in the other meaning of the word) when the black metal appears. That melody is the main theme of the song, and will be reprised several times. At around the 6 minute mark, an eastern percussion appears to give the metal riffs some company, while the main melody is played by other instruments. One of the greatest moments, that left me looking in awe at the mp3 player, is the break at 8:06. The band stops, the last chord played is maintained, and suddenly, at 8:13 you hear a coin. A thief throws the coin upwards, letting it fall in his right palm, then crossing it over to the back of his left hand. Heads! And the main theme starts again, with all its power. Simply superb.

3. Summertide's Approach (13:27) (5/5) Enough with the metal. This song starts with a polka-tango-sort-of-thing, piano and violin playing an upbeat dancing tune. It slowly fades into a sober, shadowy repetitive piano key. and the metal brutal chords rip away all that. You can hear, in the back, what will be the main theme of this song, and at 2.09 it is officially presented to you. But don't think that you've heard everything. After some black metal verses (that sound particularly good, really different of what the average black metal sound represents) and strange piano bridges, the (in my opinion) highest moment on the album gets in the stage. Everything stops, and the violin is left alone with some strange percussion and background noises. A really desolate and passionate melody is played. The bass kicks in, adding a beautiful line. The rhythm section is inspiring. Then the whole band appears (9:43), and you get the chills. It's not something that you choose. Every time you listen, you get them. A piano melody is heard in the back, like asking for permission. The distorted guitar thinks for a bit, and finally lets the piano come in. A beautiful, hard to describe harmony is achieved, showcasing the best of AFOS. Not hard, not fast, not brutal, not noisy. Plain beauty, piano, violin, and metal.

4. Thunder's Cannonade (8:01) (5/5) Bells, strings, and a spring-inspired instrumental section sets the path for this song. Happiness, smiles, and even a bit of nostalgia surrounds the tune. And then the band comes in (around 3:00), without losing that melancholic yet heaven-sent sound. I really wonder how can these guys do it, I really envy their sound. Black metal dismembers all that beauty, growls and blast beats stomp out what was created, and generate a tension unique to AFOS. Instead of finally liberating and breaking that tension, it is yet amplified, with spooky and weird violin high noises. Black metal comes again to stop that, and relief comes at the final section, with powerful and paced riffs, with that violin worthy of gods.

5. Starfire's Memory (11:50) (4/5) A long, almost futuristic ambient intro is heard, that transforms into a spacey and lengthy dark riff. Maybe the most obscure song in the album, it features some goth female singing, that create those amazing harmonies typical of AFOS. Another instrumental break that comes alive with notable drum fills, and the darkest black metal riff of the album finishes the song.

6. Delay's Progression (16:28) (5/5) Tech-strings start this song, the longest intro of the album. Female whispers and chorused guitars are heard. Then a classic guitar with strings comes in, just to get smashed with brutal chords. However, some strange, sci-fi-ish background noise is present. And then you understand what they were trying to tell you. The voices are all technologic, like a post-acopalyptic auto-tune, that fits so well with the riff being played. It suddenly changes to a harshest growl and double-bass drum beat, that is followed with weird percussion, and then with more violin. Then the classic guitar is left alone with the techy-vocals. It sounds so mellow yet dark, in a sinister and futuristic way. Rare, unique, and simply amazing. And we're not done here. A new black metal riff blends in again, with chords that sound weird, until you notice they are not weird. They are triumphant, with choirs and stuff. The end is near. And it ends. In an epic, celestial and heavy way. The last chord is strucked. "That was awesome" you say. But 2 minutes still remain. You hear bells sounding softly because of the wind, and sinister voices in the far background. They come near, and the REAL final chords are played. Chill-inducing, awe-inspiring, final chords, redefining epic. The album comes to a full stop.

I think there's not much more to say. Pay full close attention to every second of the record, you never know what fine detail will get you. An album crafted by experts, indeed.

5/5.

Thanks to Plankowner for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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