Beware The Sword You Cannot See
Review by Brian on February 28, 2015.
When a band releases an album that pushes boundries, deviates from the norm and manages to create an original and memorable experience like A Forest Of Stars did with 2012's A Shadowplay for Yesterdays, one often wonders how they will follow up such an amazing and original release. Doubts creep in, the mind starts to wonder if they've spent themselves. Is it possible to create that greatness again without duplicating the same album which would only be boring since it was already done. Did they reach their potential and now will carve out a little niche. The answer to that question comes in the form of their latest release Beware the Sword You Cannot See.
On their 4th release England's psychedelic, folk, progressive black metal stalwarts A Forest Of Stars proves that they are still growing, still experimenting, becoming more progressive and writing even more elaborate music. The nine minute opener "Drawing Down the Rain" shows the maturity of the band and it's eclectic musical vision. It's chaotic yet melodious, it's black metal, it's folk, it's progressive but remains accessible. This is a theme that remain constant through out the albums first 5 tracks culminating in the massive and wonderfully progressive "Proboscis Master Versus the Powdered Seraphs". This is where the album takes on a whole new vibe with "Pawn on the Universal Chessboard". This song is broken down into 6 parts and is tracked as such, but this is one long song that moves from very beautiful soft parts with violins and haunting female vocals to extremely aggressive black metal conjurings.
Beware the Sword You Cannot See delivers. It's use of violins, acoustic passages, complex arrangements and fusing this with black metal ugliness and aggressiveness is a formula that is working well for these Brits. The only complaint I have with the album is that at times the transitions seemed forced. However, don't let that deter you from this album, those moments are few and far between. The 6 part album closer "Pawn on the Universal Chessboard" is worth it on it's own.
Rating: 8 out of 10