A FOREST OF STARS
Victorian melodramatic lyrics: Check. Psychedelic black metal: Check. Off-kilter music to lose yourself in - almost an opium den’s worth of nightmares! Check. It can only be A Forest of Stars, one of the UK’s best (and weirdest) black metal bands, with their new album ‘Grave Mounds and Grave Mistakes’. I’ve had the pleasure of following this band right from the get go and they have consistently delivered (both recorded and live, I must say). This is their fifth album and, although we’ll concentrate on this one, if you like their previous albums you will love this. Concurrently, if this is your first foray with the Gentlemen’s Club of A Forest of Stars then I would encourage you to go back and discover what you’ve missed.
When you have a sound of your own, as A Forest of Stars do, you will always be judged against yourself. On initial listen, my overall thought was that this is their most commercial and easily (for a more mainstream audience, perhaps) accessible album. They have brought a real coherence that brings the madness to the fore, but this album flows so well. There’s a real organic sound that throbs through the whole affair and I feel they have spent a good attention to detail to make this their best effort yet. As much as black metal I think there’s a real folk music narrative going on with the unhinged monologues of vocalist Mister Curse. I’m not talking good old jig around the room folk, but some of those dark songs of the past that leave you feeling slightly disorientated that someone, a) thought it was good idea to write about and deliver this way and, b) they actually did!
The album opens with a foreboding ‘Persistence is All’, which soon thunders into the first song proper, ‘Precipice Pirouette’. A black metal tirade led by Mister Curse at his dramatic and enunciated best and here our journey starts. Although each piece is worthy in its own right, it is the whole of the album that throws up the most satisfied listen. I could give you stand out cuts, such as the deranged ‘Decomposing Deity Dancehall’, but the best recommendation is that this has been on constant repeat since getting it and looks like it will stay there for some time.
GRAVE MOUNDS AND GRAVE MISTAKES
Review by Paul Sims
28th Sept 2018
1) Persistence is All
2) Precipice Pirouette
3) Tombward Bound
4) Premature Invocation
5) Children of the Night Soil
6) Taken by the Sea
7) Scriptually Transmitted Disease
8) Decomposing Deity Dancehall
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"They have brought a real coherence that brings the madness to the fore, but this album flows so well."