Friday, September 9, 2016

CD Review: DARK FOREST Beyond the Veil

Beyond the Veil
Cruz del Sur Music
Dark Forest is a Midlands based NWOBHM project formed in 2002. “Beyond the Veil” is their fourth full length release- displaying both their power metal and traditional Irish music influences in an aurally pleasing manner.
“On the Edge of Twilight” commences “Under the Veil” with a slightly mournful, melodic ballad feel. The lyrics delivered in a strong and clean manner add to a well-constructed and musically tight opening track to this release. The power metal influence is definitely apparent with the use of pronounced guitar solos and harmonies utilized throughout this track.
“Beyond the Veil” commences with samples of woodland sounds- before bursting into a fast paced, rollicking cadence packed with energy. The traditional Irish influence is pronounced here simply by the rolling pace and stylized riffs- an excellent contrast suitably displaying Dark Forest’s diversity on this release. Once again, a musically tight and consistent track- a quality continuing throughout “Under the Veil”.
“Autumn’s Crown” focuses more on a NWOBHM sound while still reflecting on the power metal influence. The lyrics are written in a saga manner delivered flawlessly- another particular strength of Dark Forest. Musically, the drum work is particularly tight, and adds a depth to this track- while once again demonstrating Dark Forest’s diversity.
“Blackthorn” is a high- energy, power- metal influenced track delivered with dramatic riffs and musical intervals. Switching styles and cadences rapidly ensures the listener’s attention is firmly focused on another unexpected contrast to the prior track. The mythological perspective on the lyrics provides another insightful addition to “Under the Veil” and is suited flawlessly to Dark Forest’s musical style.
“Luntantishee” commences with a gentle, beautifully played solo- once again giving testament to their traditional Irish influences. A well-constructed, acoustic piece serving as a welcome interval in between tracks- and surprising the listener with another musical dimension to Dark Forest.
“The Wild Hunt” commences with a sample of a storm- adding a slightly foreboding tone to this track. A well harmonized power ballad feel to this track ensures that the listener is anticipating the next stylistic approach. The strength of this track lies in the cohesiveness, sheer talent and musically tight approach of Dark Forest along with their insightful lyrics. The continual style and pace changes ensure the listener is left awaiting the next track.
“Earthbound” commences with a more traditional Irish acoustic feel to this track before exploding into a rapid riff section. Switching cadence rapidly into a NWOBHM influenced sound before seamlessly shifting into a more power metal ballad feel. The vocals and lyrics are a true strength in this track- as they serve to enhance and compliment the musical intervals. A musically strong and enjoyable track.
“The Undying Flame” demonstrates a stronger focus onto the NWOBHM side of Dark Forest’s influences- the vocals display a certain power metal quality, which serves to provide an interesting contrast and added dimension to this track. Another polished and consistent track, “The Undying Flame” provides the consistent excellence the listener has come to expect of Dark Forest.
“Mên-An-Tol” commences with the rollicking influenced acoustic interval before shifting pace into a more energized and heavier musical section. The use of riffs and harmonies display their power metal influence and display the talent of the musicians on this instrumental piece. “Men- an- Tol” serves to display the creativity of the musicians, with special attention given to the drum work.
“Beyond the Veil” stylistically displays Dark Forest’s NWOBHM influences more effectively- with classic power metal vocals and harmonies utilized creatively. The vocal harmonies assure an interesting experience but serve to distract the listener from the talent and creativity of the music. Noteworthy riff sections and instrumental intervals including the use of traditional Irish instruments ensure a memorable track.
A short instrumental interval leading up the concluding track, “Ellydian” serves extremely well as a prelude to “The Lore of the Land”. A quaint and melodic albeit brief track utilized effectively to prepare the listener for the concluding track.
“The Lore of the Land” is the concluding track of this release, combining power metal elements with a saga-like quality to the lyrics. At over 13 minutes- this track could be viewed as a touch long-winded, but the lyrics are captivating. The Iron Maiden influence is obvious in both vocals and riffs stylistically- but is still appealing to the listener.
Dark Forest are musically tight and creative to effectively be appreciated by fans of all genres- “Under the Veil” is definitely one for the Power metal fans. Creatively blending musical boundaries ensures the listener of Dark Forest’ musical talent and cohesiveness as a project. Consistently strong and powerful vocals are a particular quality throughout this release. -Sarah McKellar

Track list:
1. On the Edge of Twilight
2. Where The Arrow Falls
3. Autumn's Crown
4. Blackthorn
5. Lunantishee
6. The Wild Hunt
7. Earthbound
8. The Undying Flame
9. Mên-An-Tol
10. Beyond the Veil
11. Ellylldan
12. The Lore of The Land

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