A Forest of Stars - Beware the Sword You Cannot See (2015)
Lupus Lounge (Prophecy Productions)
Review by Trevor Proctor
March will see the release of Gentleman’s Club A Forest of Stars’ fourth album, “Beware the Sword You Cannot See,” which follows the highly rated “A Shadowplay For Yesterdays,” released in 2012. This mysterious English troupe of musicians has a membership of seven and plays a diverse style of psychedelic black metal featuring elements ranging from folk to progressive and a little bit of almost everything in between. Beware the Sword You Cannot See is due to be released on the 3rd of March, coming out via Lupus Lounge, a division of Prophecy Productions.
Drawing Down the Rain commences proceedings and is an excellent snapshot of the variety of sound you’ll hear during the album – there’s bits of folk, progressive, and black metal during it’s fascinating nine and a half minutes. The track starts quietly with clean guitar steadily building momentum until the first moment of genius is revealed when a violin kicks in, briefly leading the track then combining with guitar to brilliant effect before in turn leading us into some black metal.
The eloquent and theatrical vocal of Mister Curse also plays a vital part in the track as he brings a sense of dramatic theatre and his style contrasts very well with the female vocals of Katheryne, Queen of the Ghosts whose beautiful, haunting vocal adds another dimension to this multi-faceted masterpiece. The track itself is a masterclass in music and the biggest fear I had on its conclusion was A Forest… had maybe played their hand too soon by opening with the best track. An astounding track yes, but thankfully my fears are unfounded as from track to track they manage to escalate the drama and tension, immersing you in their music.
The album proceeds strongly with each and every track impressing for a number of reasons but it’s when we reach track six that A Forest of Stars deliver their sucker punch. Tracks six to eleven combine under the title “Pawn on the Universal Chessboard” to create one of the most magnificent and ambitious pieces of music you’ll ever hear. The one-two of Mindslide and Have You Got a Light, Boy? is nothing short of sublime. Mindslide is a dreamy, spacey track with stunning vocals from Katheryne which lull us calmly into Have You Got a Light Boy? which is a progressive masterpiece – absolutely stunning music. Their ability to look to the past for folk elements whilst at the same time looking light years ahead for their progressive style is second to none and the numerous transitions between styles on the album all appear to be seamless.
This is one extremely talented band and for me they have taken a leap since their last album. Whilst “A Shadowplay for Yesterdays” fully deserved its praise this is a determined step even further along the path of musical excellence. Every track is a highlight and features a number of talking points – take my word for it, this band is as creative as Willy Wonka on acid. The more listens you give this the more you will realise it’s no ordinary album; it’s an extremely rich tapestry of intricate sound that’s woven and held together by the elegant and eccentric charm that we’ve come to expect from A Forest of Stars.
Ladies and gentlemen I present to you one of the best albums you’ll hear, this year, or any year - get lost within A Forest of Stars and your listening experience may never be the same again. I can’t speak highly enough of this quality music.
1. Drawing Down the Rain
2. Hive Mindless
3. A Blaze of Hammers
4. Virtus Sola Invicta
5. Proboscis Master Versus the Powdered Seraphs
6. Part I: Mindslide
7. Part II: Have You Got a Light, Boy?
8. Part III: Perdurabo
9. Part IV: An Automaton Adrift
10. Part V: Lowly Worm
11. Part VI: Let There Be No Light
A Forest of Stars' Beware the Sword You Cannot See is released by Lupus Lounge (Prophecy Productions) on 3rd March, 2015.