DARK FOREST — Dark Forest

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DARK FOREST - Dark Forest cover
3.38 | 7 ratings | 1 review
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Album · 2009

Filed under Heavy Metal


1. The Battle of Badon Hill (4:08)
2. Pipes of Pan (4:10)
3. The Wizard of Alderley Edge (4:02)
4. Dyed in Crimson (3:57)
5. Excalibur (8:26)
6. Hollow Hills (4:27)
7. Fear Dearg (3:41)
8. The Wrekin Giant (7:38)
9. Fight for Metal (3:55)
10. Dark Forest (5:05)

Total Time 49:29


- Christian Horton / Vocals, Guitars
- James Lee / Guitars
- Adam Sidaway / Drums, Backing Vocals
- Bill Clough / Bass


- Phil Cope / Guitar solo on #2

About this release

Released by Eyes Like Snow, January 30th, 2009.

Thanks to adg211288 for the addition


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Dark Forest (2009) is the self-titled debut album by UK heavy metal act Dark Forest. Although the band went on after this to be more familiar as a five piece act, this debut sees them as a four piece with the vocals performed by guitarist Christian Horton. This is a retrospective review written shortly after the release of the group's fifth album Oak, Ash & Thorn (2020).

The songs on Dark Forest number among the best that the band has ever put out. This is a quality heavy metal album with some power and folk references, that really channels the genre history in the UK, specifically the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. If it has been released at that time this debut record might have gone on to put Dark Forest on the same status level as Iron Maiden or Saxon. There's just one problem, which would have applied then just as much as when the album was actually released in 2009.

Christian Horton cannot sing.

This album unfortunately isn't one of those cases where a band had a singer less liked than their classic singer at the start of their career, but who was still pretty good. Horton is just plain poor as a vocalist. Credit where it is due, you can really tell he is trying his best to carry the album, to moderate success in spite of himself, but sadly he's just not cut out for it. It's no surprise that after this Dark Forest managed to recruit Will Lowry-Scott and then Josh Winnard (who remains their vocalist to this day) to take over this duty from Horton. I've seen some voice the opinion that someone, somewhere once told Horton he could sing and he believed it, but I find it more likely that he sang on Dark Forest out of necessity rather than hubris; a young band who couldn't find the right vocalist and wanted to get music out there. Of course, either theory is pure speculation unless Horton himself clears this bit of band history up, but regardless despite the issues regarding his vocals here, the band got it together in time for their next album Dawn of Infinity (2011) which as an aside, remains one of my personal favourite heavy metal releases of the decade just gone.

The album itself is actually quite good even with the vocals because as I stated earlier the songs themselves number among the best Dark Forest ever wrote. One of them, The Wizard of Alderley Edge, was actually re-recorded with Will Lowry-Scott as part of the Defender (2009) EP and alone shows what really might have been with this first album – possibly the best Dark Forest record. It's really surprising that the band has never re-recorded more tracks from it. Not least the self-titled song Dark Forest, which to me at least seems like it should have been a must. With the position of lead vocalist now seemingly stable with John Winnard, one can only hope that the band jumps on the golden opportunity to revive these tracks, if not completely re-record the whole album. If they did that I can't see any situation where the 3.5 star rating it currently gets from me wouldn't morph into a 5.0.

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