A FOREST OF STARS — Opportunistic Thieves of Spring

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A FOREST OF STARS - Opportunistic Thieves of Spring cover
4.38 | 8 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 2010


1. Sorrow's Impetus (13:01)
2. Raven's Eye View (9:23)
3. Summertide's Approach (13:27)
4. Thunder’s Cannonade (8:01)
5. Starfire’s Memory (11:50)
6. Delay’s Progression (16:28)

Total Time 72:10


- Mister Curse / Vocals
- Katheryne, Queen of the Ghosts / Violin, Flute, Vocals
- The Gentleman / Synthesizers, Pianoforte, Percussion
- Mr. T.S. Kettleburner / Guitars, Bass, Vocals
- Mr John "The Resurrectionist" Bishop / Drums, Percussion

Guest/Session Musicians:

- Mr. Titus Lungbutter / Guimbarde
- Miss Charly Hellier / Backing Vocals, Accordion
- Mr Robert Hobson / Guitars (acoustic), Backing Vocals

About this release

Released by Transcendental Creations, June 1st, 2010.

Thanks to Vehemency for the addition and adg211288 for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

siLLy puPPy
A FOREST OF STARS experienced absolutely zero slump on their sophomore album OPPORTUNISTIC THIEVES OF SPRING. Already on their debut “The Corpse Of Rebirth,” this Leeds, England based post-black metal band that loves to dress up all Victorian displayed a stunning maturity as they seamlessly melded a 70s progressive folk style with all the modern day atmospheric black metal touches which included extensive use of sophisticated dark ambient passages and wove it all into dreamy celestial realms. While the fearless fusion was the result of their bold experimental approach, the effect was one of the most well laid out examples of how to adapt a marriage of psychedelic folk and caustic black metal within the greater context of an extended post-rock paradigm.

OPPORTUNISTIC THIEVES OF SPRING takes the band even further into the deepest recesses of their fertile imaginations and creates another staggering journey into the slow burn world of monumental epic tracks that extend to infinity and beyond. Well, to be honest on this one, two of the six tracks actually do NOT hit the ten minute mark but the epic sprawl of the opener “Sorrow’s Impetus” dips past the 13 minute mark and the grand finale in the form of “Delay’s Progression” extends all the way past 16. While it sounds like the ultimate test of patience and the perfect recipe for an overweening post-whatever album to wear out its welcome by the second track, somehow A FOREST OF STARS breathe vitality into every cadence and every rhythmic drive that emulates from their magic grab bag of ideas.

As with the debut, this second offering relies on a post-rock driven atmospheric flow that delivers the expected gentle slow burning approach that ratchets up the intensity to bombastic blackened crescendoes. Also all along the way, the musical march is haunted by the mournful melancholy of Katheryne, Queen Of Ghosts’ foik-laden violin performances with the occasional flute accouterments to add that extra folky flavor. Also back for a reprise are the Ralph Vaughan Williams inspired classical touches that find their way to the surface during the brevity of the piano tinkling but comprise a structural underpinning that offers a complexity not apparent to the casual listener. Add the black metal bombast which tackles the usual suspects of tremolo picking, bombastic riffs and distortion like there’s no tomorrow and the band ratchets up their successful formula a few notches by adding touches of accordion and sitar just to name a few.

What probably propels OPPORTUNISTIC THIEVES OF SPRING a few notches above and beyond “The Corpse Of Rebirth” is the prowess of the six compositions that finds the band delivering a much more interesting flow of musical ideas as they hit their stride. The black metal, folk, classical and post-rock elements have mastered cosmic bliss as they perfect the marriage of elements that unleash pure magic. What? This album is really 72 minutes long and i didn’t get bored? How often does that happen? Interestingly enough, the music never once misses a beat. It flows impeccably as one sonically stretched epic track cedes into the next. This is music to get lost in and despite the metal elements, has more in common with chamber orchestra works from previous centuries than anything from the second wave of black metal.

Despite a classical / psychedelic chamber folk band in metal clothing setting, A FOREST OF STARS sets itself apart from its contemporaries and the band doesn’t shy away from unleashing the full effects of black metal bombast. Mister Curse delivers his insane asylum theatrical vocal style unapologetically with glee while blastbeats and distorted tremolo guitar picking aggressive dominate the subdued violin and piano sounds that only emerge when the metal takes a breather. Whereas the debut had more of a predictable flow as the atmospheric and folk touches tended to initiate the process and allow the metal to build up its intensity, on OPPORTUNISTIC THIEVES OF SPRING, the band throws in more curve balls and carves their compositions into suite-like creations of epic proportion. It’s almost like a black metal opera version of Sigur Ros as the hypnotic repetition mixes and melds with the extreme metal decibalage.

Also for good measure, A FOREST OF STARS still sounds a lot like the (more progressive) atmospheric black metal counterpart to My Dying Bride as both bands rely heavily on a dirge-like violin line to create the proper elegiac elements which in this care are amplified by the spooky cosmic dark ambience and post-black metal heft. Notably as the standout of the crowd, “Starfire’s Memory” offers a diverse mix of clean male and female vocals in addition to Mr. Curse’s unhinged shrieks of insanity. On their sophomore album OPPORTUNISTIC THIEVES OF SPRING, i have to say that A FOREST OF STARS hits musical perfection as every STAR within this FOREST aligned in astrological perfection. Every single aspect about this one exudes a grace and elegance unlike most albums that would fall into the greater black metal universe. This is clearly designed for connoisseurs of musical diversity because if the listener isn’t fully onboard long interludes of formless dark ambience, post-rock repetition or black metal bombast, one’s attention span could easily be derailed however for my money, this one is a bloody masterpiece!
A Forest of Stars offers up a broader range of sounds than expected for black metal, even in the experimentation-happy realms of the "atmospheric" subgenre of it. Between them Mister Curse on shrieked vocals, T.S. Kettleburner on guitar and bass, and John "the Resurrectionist" Bishop on drums provide all the tools for the black metal side of the equation, but the inclusion of the Gentleman on synths and pianoforte and Katheryne, Queen of the Ghosts on violin and flute allows them to incorporate ambient, folk and Victorian chamber music influences into their sounds.

On this second album, they indulge themselves with long song structures that allow all of these diverse sounds to come together in a psychedelically-tinged blend. Like much of the atmospheric black metal subgenre, this isn't an album for dipping into and out of - you'll want to listen to it all the way through to get its full effect - but I'd say it's decidedly worth setting that listening time aside for.
Once upon a midnight dreary...

A Forest of Stars is one of those obscure black metal bands that, despite their amazing talent and inimitable style, don't aim at quitting underground. They are focused on their very own vision of the genre - brooding, minimal and psychedelic, often as haunting as some of the most beautiful poems of the Victorian era.

Opportunistic Thieves of Spring is definitely a grower. Its doom-esque, evolutionary structure and psychedelic atmosphere of ritualistic witchcraft make it difficult to digest at first listen. Once I made the effort, though, I started to perceive the album as nothing less than a masterpiece. Its atmosphere - created with oppressively heavy black metal passages, crushing doom metal riffs, psychedelic violin parts and passionate, rasping recitation of Mister Curse - is unparalleled, unprecedented, evocative and cannot be described with words. The sheer beauty that lies in the very core of this abrasive music is what makes it such an exacting yet rewarding experience.

Ladies and gentlemen, it's a one-of-a-kind record and therefore it's hard to recommend it to any particular group of metal fans. Those who like their metal psychedelic and genuinely brooding, should check it out without delay. It's a masterpiece of psychedelic/occult black/doom metal that deserves much, much more recognition than it ever got.

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