A FOREST OF STARS — A Shadowplay for Yesterdays

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A FOREST OF STARS - A Shadowplay for Yesterdays cover
4.26 | 10 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 2012


1. Directionless Resurrectionist (03:13)
2. Prey Tell of the Church Fate (07:27)
3. A Prophet for a Pound of Flesh (10:11)
4. The Blight of God's Acre (06:09)
5. Man's Laughter (03:00)
6. The Underside of Eden (08:14)
7. Gatherer of the Pure (08:20)
8. Left Behind as Static (06:43)
9. Corvus Corona (Part 1) (03:15)
10. Corvus Corona (Part 2) (06:13)

Total time 01:02:37

Bonus track:
11. Dead Love (05:47)


- Mr John "The Resurrectionist" Bishop / Drums, Percussion
- Sir Gtx. Grimshaw / Guitar
- Mr. Titus Lungbutter / Bass
- Katheryne, Queen of the Ghosts / Vocals, Violin, Flute
- Henry Hyde Bronsdon / Vocals, Guitar, Programming
- Mister Curse / Vocals
- The Gentleman / Keyboards, Piano, Percussion, Programming

Guest musicians:
- Philip Wilcox / Accordion

About this release

Prophecy Productions
July 20th, 2012

Engineering, Mixing, Mastering by The Gentleman and Henry Hyde Bronsdon

Thanks to bartosso for the addition and adg211288 for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

A Shadowplay for Yesterdays is the third album to be released by UK act A Forest of Stars. A Forest of Stars belong at their core to the black metal genre, but as A Shadowplay for Yesterdays proves you can’t just say that the album is simply a black metal album. This is something much more than can really be defined as black metal. It transcends the boundaries of the genre, so much that they are not merely stretched but snapped completely.

As such it is hard to know where to begin to actually describe what A Shadowplay for Yesterdays Actually sounds like. It would be simplest I reckon to just dub the album as ‘A Forest of Stars Metal’ but I think I’d better at least try to go into more detail than that. I’d probably call this in genre terms avant-garde black metal, in that the black metal roots of the sound are still very much a prominent part of the A Forest of Stars sound, but the album also introduces a multitude of other ideas, some of it downright weird and mysterious, in a good way of course, which is made evident right from the word go with the introductory track Directionless Resurrectionist which features spoken word vocals. The album is also partly folk metal, especially in the epic A Prophet for a Pound of Flesh, although the folk used here is also quite psychedelic. It’s probably the second most noticeable thing about the album after black metal. Sections of the music vary between an atmospheric nature and more traditional black metal riffs, with symphonic sections adding in small measure, as well as electronic parts and psychedelic undertones that are topped off with a mix of black metal growling, some of which I’d describe as theatrical, and male and female clean vocals within the band’s air of the upper class of the Victorian era of England. They do not call themselves a Gentleman’s Club lightly it seems.

The music is dressed up beyond the usual metal weapons of choice with instruments like the violin, flute, accordion and piano, which add both the folk and psychedelic tones to the music, and they also use programming to add additional weirdness, which all ties in with the album’s concept. You just never know what the band is going to add to their black metal riffage or even when they’re going to withdraw the metal element entirely, which there are several instances of during A Shadowplay for Yesterdays, and each of them implemented as well as any of the metal parts. Even the use of the sound of some pigs oinking at the start of Gatherer of the Pure comes across as something completely natural to include on an album such as this (and it’s a lot more classy than resorting to pig squealing vocals).

I’m still not sure those descriptions are entirely accurate but A Shadowplay for Yesterdays isn’t an album you can listen to and instantly say what it’s all about. In fact even with several listens under my belt it’s still difficult to be accurate and honestly I wouldn’t want to make the claim that you could be completely accurate to say what this is all about, unless you are a band member of course. To claim otherwise would even be the height of pretentiousness in my opinion. A Shadowplay for Yesterdays is just so different to anything else I’ve come across before that it’s impossible to digest it in just a few listens and I think that’s what is ultimately what I find so avant-garde about it, although the music itself has little in common with artists like Unexpect or Akphaezya who normally have the avant-garde tag applied to their music.

And I must say it all works out mighty well. If all of the above only managed to confuse you then I’d take that for a guarantee that A Shadowplay for Yesterdays has succeeded in doing what it seems A Forest of Stars set out to do. Regardless of whether you think you understand it or not, it’s been very clear to me right from my first listen to the album that I was dealing with something really special here and as I’ve given the album many more listens than most albums get before finishing off their review in order to try and understand it all a bit better my regard for it has only increased. I have to admit, this was my first experience with the music of A Forest of Stars so maybe this sort of thing is the norm for them, but as a newcomer I found myself treated to something unlike anything I’d ever heard before, something that was not only excellent, interesting music, but fresh as well. In a world where many bands sound alike and somehow get hyped up as the current big thing albums like A Shadowplay for Yesterdays that generally do have something new and good to offer are still largely going under the radar. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a damn shame.


(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven (http://metaltube.freeforums.org))
All this magnificence has crowded my cranium !

- England, 1892 -

In an industrial town known to most of its inhabitants as Yonder Town, lived a man who was a puppeteer by profession. He was performing every evening, always in the same venue, stooping over his grimy puppets, drowned out by noise and shrouded in acrid smoke coming from a nearby factory. Always wearing the same checked vest and worn-out hat, he became a part of that God forgotten place: a narrow paved street with crooked tenements crowding around like frozen guardians of hopeless lives.

Labourers of ghostly stature were passing by, exhausted and apathetic, going back home only to prepare for another day of hard slog. Their bodies seemed to be separated from the mind, controlled by invisible strings, saving them from falling into puddles of mud and excrement. They didn't even notice that every performance of the puppeteer was different from the other, that he always had a different story to weave. I halted there once, unseen, hidden. I listened to the puppeteer, I watched his ephemeral spectacle:

"Once upon a time there was a lady of no repute, One Miss Crow, who, by force of a certain stranger, had engaged in violent night-time actions, against her very will.

Resulting from this invasion came, an aberration of desperation, a horror in all but name, A stoop-backed boy, short of stature, violent by nature; to be expelled from the womb in late November..."


That's how I imagine the beginning of this story. For it's not an ordinary album we're talking about here. Being released by Prophecy Productions (Alcest, Falkenbach), A SHADOWPLAY FOR YESTERDAYS is a musical experience, abundant in soundscapes of an otherworldly nature. That's what happens when the band puts heart and soul into the music. And when it's a Victorian bunch of geniuses. If avant-garde metal with noticeable black, psychedelic and folk element is to your liking, I strongly encourage you to read through the following paragraphs... or just get the album and ignore the rest.

I encountered some negative opinions concerning the sound of the album and I must admit that compared to oppressive sound of OPPORTUNISTIC THIEVES OF SPRING it may seem a bit flat. It appears that the difference between these two records has not been taken into account though. A SHADOWPLAY FOR YESTERDAYS is much less monolithic and thereby more space for psychedelic folk elements has been gained. Songs are multi-layered and full of influences from genres outside the metal one. That's why I find this bright production perfectly suitable for the music. Moreover, the sound is natural and organic which is a big advantage in my book.

A Forest of Stars is a band - or should I say a gentlemen's club - with a vision. Bands of this kind are very rare. Not only a band with a vision creates its own style, weave a concept and infuse it with life. It also makes the whole process irrelevant to the listener, makes him think about the music and concept as one consistent piece of art, completely apart and unique... whew, okay, enough of this loftiness. What we've got here is an avant-garde metal music, infused with psychedelic ambiance of Victorian occultism. All this created with the use of violin, retro-sounding piano, ominous clean vocals, accordion, flute, two different pigs, brooding samples and several electronic devices of unknown nature. Oppressive black metal element, known from OPPORTUNISTIC THIEVES OF SPRING, receded into the background but don't worry, it still has an important role to play. Most of all, however, the way this album flows, how unthinkable it is to listen just to one of the tracks instead of submerging into the whole thing and savour it in its entirety... that's what I think is the most amazing about the Club's youngest creation.

A SHADOWPLAY FOR YESTERDAYS is strongly recommended to all those who love adventurous music. What does it mean? I hasten to explain that the word "adventurous" incorporates - in this very case - dark and reflection-provoking concept, enveloped in an ominous Victorian ambiance and executed with the use of music and emotional harsh vocals by Mister Curse. The music itself is composed in a multi-layered fashion, with impetuous and harsh character, usually attributed to black metal. And, from my point of view, it's just brilliant.


"... A fast track to sorrow in a world bred slow. From foetid seed, a poison tree with a venomous bark did grow.

He was to work all the hours his sorry god sent, a resident of fantasy, living a life of lament. He was to have no living lovers, no-one on who to depend. Yet his friends were to call him Carrion, the friends inside his head... "

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