Duncan Evans - Bird of Prey (2013)
Review by Wayne Simmons
When Duncan Evans, aka Henry Hyde Bronsdon from the Gentlemen's Club of A Forest Of Stars, signed a 5 album solo deal, the end product must have surprised fans.
Leeds-based A Forest of Stars is an experimental affair, mixing prog, doom, black metal and a whole lot more. There’s just about everything in the pot; violin, flutes, synthesizers, dirge guitar and an almost defiantly anti-melodic vocal.
Evans, as a solo artist, brings a very traditional folk sound to the table, reminiscent of Christy Moore or Roy Harper, and about a million miles from black metal. It’s like he’s taken everything Forest of Stars is about and flipped it on its ass.
Debut single, BIRD OF PREY, released by German label Prophecy, is testament to this. And here’s the cool thing: it works a treat.
The title track is quite minimalist, mostly European in feel. It’s an upbeat track, all finger plucking acoustic and bouncy, melodic vocals. Sure, it’s got its plaintive edge. There’s an echo of Southern fried slide guitar, and a fee minor keys in the mix, but there’s no dirge. Nothing doomy or black at all, not a sniff.
The second track, SHE AND I MUST PART, is even more restrained. Almost country in feel, with a more soulful vocal from Evans layered over an even more prominent slide guitar.
Duncan Evans may not convince all of his Forest of Stars fanbase with his debut solo single, but that hardly matters. There’s a whole new fanbase waiting for him, folks who wouldn’t know black metal from hair metal, but know a good tune when they hear it. With BIRD OF PREY, Evans is treading new ground as a songwriter and musician and doing it with integrity.
BIRD OF PREY is available now on limited edition 7” single from Prophecy Productions.