Land Of The Evening Star
Released: 2012, Bleak Art Records
Canadian Metal Spotlight-Part 2
About once a year or so I’ll dig down deep into the frozen permafrost of the Canadian Metal scene and share some worthy releases with a wider audience. Since we don’t get summer up here in the Great White North I’ll bring you a little cold front of Metal albums and a quick review of seven recent albums by newer bands from coast to coast. Being a Canadian writing for a Canadian site it is the least I can do, in a patriotic sense, to help give a little exposure to my fellow Metallions of the north but that doesn’t means they get a free ride, just because they are Canadian! These bands actually deserve your attention;
Auroch (Vancouver, British Columbia)
Begrime Exemious (Edmonton, Alberta)
Black Moor (Dartmouth, Nova Scotia)
Dark Forest (Calgary, Alberta)
Maglor (Calgary, Alberta)
Odium (Walkerton, Ontario)
Ze (Calgary, Alberta)
Please feel free to check out the other reviews in this feature. Last month we featured:
Haiduk (Calgary, Alberta)
Kemilon (Montreal, Quebec)
Striker (Edmonton, Alberta)
Titan’s Eve (Vancouver, British Columbia)
Valfreya (Montreal, Quebec)
Ye Goat-Herd Gods (Calgary, Alberta)
It’s been six long years since one-man band Dark Forest issued the well-received AURORA BOREALIS. It has been worth the wait because luckily for us, Dark Forest made it to album #2 . After the debut, the band was picked up by Bleak Art Records for and the album was tweaked and reissued with new cover art and some track changes. The act is still with Bleak Art and the cover art looks like another Kris Verwimp piece, and if it is not it is still in the same style. The albums eight songs run runs for about 45 minutes and my immediate impression is that LAND OF THE EVENING STAR is more cinematic and grandiose than the previous effort.
David Parks has really created some excellent soundscapes on this effort. The orchestration, the composition and arrangement all lend themselves well to creating an atmospheric piece of work. The drums are programmed but Black Metal drums have always had a funny, somewhat thin sound on purpose so it really doesn’t matter. It’s not even noticeable if someone didn’t mention it. Parks puts his vocals a little farther back in the mix creating even more of an ambient soundtrack feel. I’ve always preferred to have the vocals a little less ‘in-your-face’ in the pagan/folk/viking sub-genres, and these vocals sit well.
In case you might think LAND OF THE STAR is epic and nothing but, it’s actually pretty damn intense, both boots firmly in the Black Metal camp. The album is pretty quick in terms of pace and quite relentless at times. The arrangements are a bit longer, half of the songs are in the 7 minute + range, many with prolonged burst of speed and aggression. The song ‘hearth’ seems a little out of place with a much more traditional Metal feel, especially the opening drum-beats but it is still a great song. The instrumental cut ‘Arborg’ could have easily fit on a Viking era Bathory album or the Conan soundtrack. That’s a compliment. The albums ends strong with an epic (for lack of a better term, because it is a story about a journey) with interesting historical lyrics about the discovery of the new world in 985. LAND OF THE EVENING STAR is a world-class album and I sincerely hope it doesn’t take another half-decade until the next album!