Antre – Void

Whilst the UK hasn’t always been recognised as a hotbed for Black Metal bar the occasional, exceptional case; recent times suggest the burgeoning of a rich scene in the underground; from the likes of A Forest Of Stars getting wide plaudits to the new breed which includes Wode, Underdark and Dawn Ray’d flying the flag. Also throwing their hat into the ring, Nottingham up-and-comers Antre offer a somewhat esoteric and widely influenced strain of the genre with a full-length debut that not only personifies the depth the genre has to offer but also puts them as a prime force in the UK’s scene. Continue reading

Empyrium, Strid, Farsot, Coldworld, Year Of The Cobra, Fen and More Booked For Prophecy Fest 2019

One of the truly unique music labels in the underground, Prophecy Productions, returns with their really special music festival. Prophecy Fest takes place in a natural cave formed in the Old Stone Age – Balver Höhle. According to Germanic Saga, the blacksmith Wieland had his workshop in the cave. Balve, Germany, is situated in the center of Germany between Dortmund, Cologne, Frankfurt, and Hannover. Beyond myths, the show will be the stuff of legend with the following nine bands: Empyrium (Exclusive European performance 2019), Strid (Exclusive Central European performance 2019), Farsot and Coldworld (performing Toteninsel World Premiere) Year Of The Cobra, Disillusion, A Forest Of Stars, Laster, Fen, Tchornobog. Seven more bands will be announced at a later date. For tickets and full festival details, see the link below. Continue reading

A Forest Of Stars – Grave Mounds And Grave Mistakes

It has been a decade now since I first saw A Forest Of Stars at their debut gig in Leeds, and they’ve always occupied a special place for me in music since then. They mash-up progressive Black Metal with a folky presence and wrap it up within a steampunk inspired Victorian based package. What results from this can sometimes be a little hit and miss, but generally contains many objects of wonder. Grave Mounds and Grave Mistakes, marks their third full length released on Prophecy Productions. Continue reading

BLOODSTOCK 2018- Part 2: Catton Hall, Derbyshire UK

SATURDAY

With everyone firmly into the swing of things by now, Saturday’s main stage openers Nailed to Obscurity opened proceedings strongly enough but were promptly blown out of the water by one of the major surprises of the festival – Power Trip. A combination of thrash and early death metal, the Texan act were a blur of riffs and speed, whipping up the early afternoon crowd into an explosive cyclone of energy. Continue reading

Damnation 2018 Adds Napalm Death, Entombed AD, Vader And More

Damnation Festival has added six more bands to its growing 2018 lineup! Napalm Death, Entombed AD, Vader, Ohhms, A Forest Of Stars, Leeched have been added to a bill that already includes Anaal Nathrakh, Mol, The Ocean, and NeObliviscaris. Six more bands will be announced this fall. Damnation will take place over four stages at Leeds University Union on Saturday, 3rd November 2018. Continue reading

Ghost Cult Album Of The Year 2015 Countdown: 20 – 11

Ghost Cult logo blk background2

 

Part four of the Ghost Cult Album of the Year countdown for 2015.

One staff team. Over 550 albums covered by Ghost Cult over the last twelve months. One epic race to be crowned Album of the Year. 

Read on to dive into the Ghost Cult Top 20…

 

Soilwork-The-Ride-Majestic-800x80020. Soilwork – ‘The Ride Majestic’ (Nuclear Blast)

“The Ride Majestic  continues the slow and subtle evolution of the Soilwork sound; sounding fuller, richer and shinier than all that have gone before. In a career of great albums, the aptly named The Ride Majestic is truly outstanding.”

Review by Philip Page here

 

parkway drive

19. Parkway Drive – ‘Ire’ (Resist/Epitaph)

“While the main focus is still here in the now frontier, by opening the floodgates, Parkway have allowed themselves to write a batch of great metal songs that reference classic rock, traditional metal, 90’s groove metal and metalcore while still sounding resolutely and proudly Parkway.”

Review by Steve Tovey here

 

gnaw dragged18. Dragged Into Sunlight / Gnaw Their Tongues – ‘N.V.’ (Prosthetic)

“A genuinely effective whole, the Noise elements are relatively subtly played, often used to accentuate and highlight the Metal rather than entomb them. Whether judged as a collaboration between two artists with similar aesthetic goals or as an album in its own right, N.V. is an unrestrained success”

Review by Richie HR here

 

Thats_the_Spirit17. Bring Me The Horizon – ‘That’s The Spirit’ (RCA/Columbia)

“That’s The Spirit is Horizon maturing into a fine young adult, confident, strong and secure in themselves and the knowledge that they are now master craftsmen. Successfully combining every good aspect of alternative rock and metal of the last fifteen years, That’s The Spirit is Bring Me The Horizon’s ‘Black Album’ moment.”

Review by Steve Tovey here

 

elder16. Elder – ‘Lore’ (Armageddon Shop / Stickman)

Exemplary progressive stoner metal, with meticulous dynamics and depth, breadth, power, restraint, and mountainous music that builds to an almighty epic of a crescendo

 

btbam15. Between The Buried And Me – ‘Coma Ecliptic’ (Metal Blade)

Ghost Cult Album of the Month – October “The record that they were always promising to make but you weren’t sure was possible, on Coma Ecliptic, Between the Buried and Me have exceeded all expectations and delivered not only the album of their careers but one of the most monumental ambitious rock concept pieces this side of Operation Mindcrime.”

Review by James Conway here

 

gloryhammer14. Gloryhammer – ‘Space 1992: Rise Of The Chaos Wizards’ (Napalm)

“Gloryhammer are ridiculously entertaining.  If you somehow manage to listen to new album Space 1992: Rise of the Chaos Wizards without grinning like an idiot all the way through it, then quite simply, you’re getting Metal wrong.”

Review by Gary Alcock here

 

AForestOfStars-BewareTheSword13. A Forest Of Stars – ‘Beware The Sword You Cannot See’ (Lupus Lounge/Prophecy)

“Enthralling storytelling and atmosphere, as well as explorations into psychedelic territory and pastoral folk amid the crushing black metal dynamics; fourth effort Beware the Sword You Cannot See is an unabashed masterpiece.”

Review by James Conway here

 

goatsnake12. Goatsnake – ‘Black Age Blues’ (Southern Lord)

“Clear, soulful tones elevate the songs above the rest of their stoner/doom brethren and vocal lines will lodge in your head for days after. An excellent comeback album from a band that has been away for far too long. Let’s hope they decide to keep this motor running for a little longer this time around.”

Review by James Conway here

 

royalthunder11. Royal Thunder – ‘Crooked Doors’ (Relapse)

“There are no throw away songs on this album, and every track rewards repeated listens. Crooked Doors is the sound of pressure cooking sand into glass and then into diamonds, all with an alchemy fuelled by magic and loss.”

Review by Keith Chachkes here

 

PART 1: ALBUMS 50-41

PART 2: ALBUMS 40-31

PART 3: ALBUMS 30-21

A Forest of Stars – Beware The Sword You Cannot See

AForestOfStars-BewareTheSword

Given Britain’s tendency to produce eccentrics, the emergence of Leeds troupe A Forest of Stars in 2007 may have caused a few heads to turn, but their glorious weirdness, even in a scene as narrow and regimented as black metal, has always worked to their advantage. Existing in their own interpretation of Victorian England where decadence, occult magick and narcotic experimentation reigned supreme, the septet’s three previous albums were all well received, with plaudits given for their enthralling storytelling and atmosphere as well as explorations into psychedelic territory and pastoral folk amid the crushing black metal dynamics. Further accolades look set to follow, for fourth effort Beware the Sword You Cannot See (Lupus Lounge/Prophecy) is an unabashed masterpiece.

With a concept heavily focused on death and rebirth, this is the album that shows A Forest of Stars transcending the rigid parameters of their earthly shackles and soaring off into the unknown with aplomb. The thunderous tremolo picking and double-bass assault evident on tracks such as ‘A Blaze of Hammers’ leaves the listener in no doubt that the band aren’t going to do an Opeth on us, but it’s the surging progressive flourishes and sense of ambition that makes this such a special listening experience, as demonstrated by the ascending chords and lush female vocals courtesy of violinist Kathryne Queen of the Ghosts on the magnificent album opener ‘Drawing Down the Rain.’ Speaking of ambition, the six part odyssey that is ‘Pawn on the Universal Chessboard’ which comprises the latter half of the album is mind-boggling in scope, ranging from spacy Tangerine Dream style synths on ‘Mindslide’, masterful dark prog on ‘Have You Got a Light, Boy?’ to pummelling black metal orthodoxy on ‘Lowly Worm.’

Special mention must go to vocalist Mr Curse for a truly astonishing performance where he shrieks, yelps and dips heavily into theatrical spoken word delivery to tell the story of the album, producing some fantastic lyrics (“Fuck you and the worms you rode in on!”) and acting as demonic ringleader to this spectacular carnival of unearthly delights. It may be too early to call A Forest of Stars the British answer to Enslaved but if they keep on producing records as excellent as this then their status will be in no doubt.

Early contender for one of the albums of the year.

 

9.0/10

 

JAMES CONWAY

A Forest Of Stars Prepares Their New Album On Lupus Lounge Label

a forrest of stars

A Forest of Stars is bringing forth their new album Beware The Sword You Cannot See coming this March from Lupus Lounge. Lupus Lounge is a division of the vaunted Prophecy Productions (Alcest, Lantlos) and is that labels’ first major release of 2015.

From the official press release.

It is the year 1895. The mysterious Gentlemen’s Club of A Forest Of Stars publicizes its fourth opus in the current format of a phonograph cylinder:Beware The Sword You Cannot See, set for North American release on March 3rd via Lupus Lounge (a division of Prophecy Productions). With this offering, A Forest Of Stars make good on the promise given on its predecessor, 2012’s A Shadowplay For Yesterdays. The compositions are more adventurous and bold, more eccentric and progressive, yet still melodic and accessible like never before. Conceptually, A Forest Of Stars likewise hark back to older issues and develop them further. Whereas A Shadowplay For Yesterdays depicted moral decay based on an individual fate, Beware The Sword You Cannot See transfers the topics of demise and insanity into metaphysical spheres. Accordingly, the sound alchemists’ music becomes more universal.

Tracklisting for A Forest of Stars’Beware the Sword You Cannot See
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 forrest of stars bandMORE INFO:
www.aforestofstars.co.uk
www.facebook.com/aforestofstars
www.youtube.com/user/AFOSOfficial

Damnation Festival 2014 Completes Line Up

Damnation Festival 2014, final line up poster

 

French doom monoliths Monarch complete this years Damnation Festival line. They will be joining the likes of Saint Vitus, the reunited Raging Speedhorn, Cannibal Corpse and the events headliners Bolt Thrower at the events ten year anniversary bash at the Leeds University in November.

 

Press Release:

French drone doom outfit MONARCH! will play their only UK show of 2014 at Damnation Festival.

Their live “sonic assault” completes a PHD Stage cast of Ahab, Solstafir, Black Moth, H A R K, Atlantis and Corrupt Moral Altar.

While the Eyesore Merch Stage makes its return to Damnation, this year with a more sinister black metal billing of Fen, Wodensthrone, A Forest of Stars, , and Falloch, who’ll join previously announced Bast and Obsidian Kingdom in Mine.

The final additons to this year’s event – which will be hosted at Leeds Universtity Union on Saturday, November 1 – are orchestral metal quartet Xerath and Welsh death metal standard bearers, Amputated, who make their debut at Damnation Festival opening a Terrorizer Stage which boasts the brutality of Cannibal Corpse, Anaal Nathrakh, Revocation, Winterfylleth and Aeon.

Completing the line-up is the main Jagermeister Stage offering of Bolt Thrower, Saint Vitus, Orange Goblin, Raging Speedhorn, Stampin’ Ground and October File.

Commenting on their return to Damnation, Fen said: “We are honoured to be invited to play Damnation after our first appearance four years ago.

“It was one of the highlight gigs of our career – this festival (and the audience in particular) – is a very special one for us and we cannot wait to head back to take to the stage again.

“Fen has progressed significantly over the last four years and we are really looking forward to taking the discerning Damnation crowd by storm once more!”

A Forest of Stars added: “We’re extremely excited and honoured to be asked to play the wonderful Damnation Festival.

“We hope we won’t let everyone down too much – especially considering the impressively amazing line up – and look forward to devouring vast quantities of claret and opiates in celebration of the occasion, and maybe even playing a song or two.”

Festival Director Gavin McInally said: “This year’s line-up is fitting of a tenth anniversary party and with tickets on track to have 4,000 friends with us, it’s going to be a bash to remember.”

The complete line-up for Damnation Festival is Bolt Thrower, Cannibal Corpse, Saint Vitus, Ahab, Raging Speedhorn, Orange Goblin, Anaal Nathrakh, Monarch!, Stampin’ Ground, Revocation, Solstafir, Winterfylleth, Fen, Aeon, Black Moth, Wodensthrone, H A R K, Amputated, A Forest of Stars, October File, Xerath, Falloch, Bast, Atlantis, Obsidian Kingdom and Corrupt Moral Altar.

Fans who arrive in Leeds the night before can warm-up for Damnation Festival with A Night of Salvation at The Belgrave Music Hall, featuring Dyscarnate, Hang the Bastard, Latitudes, The Atrocity Exhibit and Cattle. Tickets priced £6 are available on the door.

Tickets for Damnation Festival are priced £36 and on sale now from
http://www.damnationfestival.co.uk/
http://www.facebook.com/damnationfestival
http://www.leedstickets.com/