Tuesday, October 26, 2010

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

One of the few decent black metal bands to hail from the U.K. in recent years, A Forest of Stars have slovenly yet diligently garnered a rather studious cult following since the release of their debut album The Corpse of Rebirth back in 2008, which received a variety of mixed reviews subsequently. It showed potential, but lacked character.

The band promised fans and detractors alike afterward that the next album would push the envelope and make them a household name. Cut to two years later and we have  Opportunistic Thieves of Spring...and whaddaya know, nearly every expectation one might have was reached with ingenuity to spare. Bravo!

Stylistically, even those not accustomed to black metal will be able to tell right off the bat that this ensemble has an honest and distinct sonic self awareness: beyond the screaming of main male vocalist Mr. Curse and the atypical percussive onslaught you can hear some heavenly female vocals (courtesy of flautist and violinist Kati Stone from My Dying Bride), some drone and folk elements that seem more at home on a Boris record, and the sporadic ambient flourish that gives credence to their 'Psychedelic Black Metal' tag.

Although the elements mesh well on the whole, the longer tracks tend to let those special non-metallic elements shine in loneliness [the opening ambient section to the 16-minute 'Delay's Progression'] and elsewhere we see things stripped down and made delightfully primitive without a hint of lushness or hate ['Raven's Eye View', especially near the middle]. Listen to those blast-beats go head to head with a fuckin' flute and tell me that doesn't make you shit bricks!

Opportunistic Thieves of Spring showcases how 2010 has been a damn fine year for black metal and otherwise thusfar, and you song-starved scavengers should revel in these remains with fleet ferocity and a desire to derive it's blackened bliss.

Listen Here - "Thunder's Cannonade"

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