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A Forest of Stars
Beware The Sword You Cannot See
February 2015
Released: 2015, Prophecy Productions
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: UK Team

A Forest Of Stars, atmospheric black metal from Leeds have been making waves over the last year after their appearance at Damnation Festival. After hearing their third release A Shadowplay For Yesterdays (2012) I have been looking forward to this album since it was announced in December. Beware The Sword You Cannot See is a step beyond their last, developing their Victorian themes and shifting them into ethereal atmosphere.

The combined blackened, ghostly sound that emanated though their last releases accumulates here as more progressive and melodic, reminiscent of Agolloch in the opening track of the album ‘The Rain’. This is a great start to the album and the folk aspect is introduced quickly with the addition of the violin and the snarling vocals follow until we are treated to the clear singing of Katheryne, Queen of Ghosts. The second ‘Hive Mindless’ sees the music complicate with percussion breakdowns, folk interludes and a theatrical vocal delivery that is developed as the album progresses into the fourth track ‘Virtus Sola Invicta’. Track five ‘Proboscis Master Versus The Powdered Seraphs Pawn on the Universal Chessboard’ is beautifully melodic combining mournful folk passages with intense atmosphere and vocals steeped with anguish and desperation. The last 6 tracks, ‘Parts I – VI’, present us with a story of demise, accumulating the efforts of all to create a journey of loss towards the album’s melancholic close.

A Forest of Stars stick with a familiar template as far as tempo and atmospheric changes are concerned, but what sets them apart is the addition of further breakdowns that demonstrate the techniques used by the players. The music is incredibly well constructed and we can hear the various folk, jazz and electronic elements clearly within each track. My only criticism is the narration style used to convey the lyrical themes. I find it quite distracting at times and this detracts from the music but that is down to personal preference. ‘Beware The Sword You Cannot See’ is likely to be very well received and I urge people to give it a listen if you want to hear something a bit different.

Reviewer: Helen Collins
Track Listing

1. Drawing Down The Rain
2. Hive Mindless
3. A Blaze of Hammers
4. Virtus Sola Invicta
5. Proboscis Master Versus The Powdered Seraphs
Pawn on the Universal Chessboard
6. Part I: Mindslide
7. Part II: Have You Got A Light, Boy?
8. Part III: Perdurabo
9. Part IV: An Automaton Adrift
10. Part V: Lowly Worm
11. Part VI: Let There Be No Light


Mister Curse - Vocals
Katheryne, Queen of the Ghosts - Violin, Flute, Vocals
The Gentleman - Keyboards, Percussion
Mr Titus Lungbutter - Bass
Mr John "The Resurrectionist" Bishop - Drums, Percussion
Mr T.S. Kettleburner - Guitar, Vocals
Mr William Wight-Barrow - Guitars

Next review: » A Forest Of Stars - Opportunistic Thieves Of Spring
Previous review: » A Forest Of Stars - A Shadowplay For Yesterdays

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