Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Forest of Stars - Opportunistic Thieves of Spring (2010)

In 2008, "Victorian occult" band A Forest of Stars surprised listeners with a refreshing take on black metal. From the from first song onwards listeners were engaged in a see-saw battle between eerie western themes (similar to the sounds of The Assassination of Jesse James , or Carnivàle) and a mid-paced (although possibly falling towards the edge of generic) black metal that twists and shines above one another, distorting the already dark sound of each into the atmosphere of a dust storm in the height of night.
To their possible credit, they achieve much of the same with their most recent adventure, 2010's Opportunistic Thieves of Spring. One is drawn into their steam-punk vision with ease. Violins tremble, pianos chime and guitars bury while the screams and shrieks from the vocalist so aptly named Mister Curse (even good bands need their kitsch) send us pain, only to be lifted with hope from the subtly sweet sounds from "Katheryne, Queen of ghosts". Also to their credit, while being samey, they are much tighter. As we look back, their debut, Corpse of Rebirth, seems almost more like an exhibition of their style, more than it is an album. Even with the atmosphere underneath it all, it was disjointed. Transitions could have been better, and riff-work wasn't quite strong enough to feel like it was given much care, but that certainly has been improved.
The counter to that, however, is that nothing really hits me quite hard. While this may be due to a lack of time to let it settle (despite that I am a bit late on this review), or just a general malaise (or sleep deprivation), I haven't really found any moments where I truly thought it was brilliant. For example, in the song Female, from their debut, it begins with a very cold piano section leading into the haunting violins, building towards the doomy riffs and the stunning anguish as Mister Curse groans about how "The moon pushed the sun down the spiral staircase of time"* all of which hit me into what, I feel, was their intention throughout the entire record. While I was taken out of that atmosphere less often, I just never found a moment quite like that in this recent effort.
Still, everything is in its place. The agony, the chill, the shining grace, all can be found if you navigate the gauntly dust bowl conjured by this album.

Download mp3 (sorry, for the indirect link, I guess. ) | Flac

1 comment:

  1. * May not be the official lyrics.

    Also, check the myspace link, not only does it contain a sample (as well as the song Female, that I mentioned) it has the greatest friend list I've ever seen