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A Forest Of Stars - Opportunistic Thieves Of Spring CD (album) cover


A Forest Of Stars


Experimental/Post Metal

4.22 | 44 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
Special Collaborator
PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic
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!

siLLy puPPy | 5/5 |


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