A FOREST OF STARS

Atmospheric Black Metal / Avant-garde Metal • United Kingdom
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A Forest of Stars is a psychedelic black metal band based in Northwest, England and formed in 2007. The band's music is an eclectic blend of psychedelic Victorian folk and steam-powered black metal.

Current line-up consists of Katheryne, Queen of the Ghosts(Vocals, Violin, Flute), Mr John "The Resurrectionist" Bishop(Drums, Percussion), The Gentleman(Keyboards, Pianoforte, Percussion), Curse(Vocals), Henry Hyde Bronsdon(Vocals, Guitar), Mr. Titus Lungbutter(Bass) and Sir Gtx. Grimshaw(Guitars).

..::bio by bartosso, 27-08-2012::..

http://a-forest-of-stars.bandcamp.com/

https://www.youtube.com/user/AFOSOfficial
Thanks to Vehemency for the addition and graphix, bartosso, adg211288 for the updates

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A Shadowplay For Yesterdays (Ltd. Edition)A Shadowplay For Yesterdays (Ltd. Edition)
Limited Edition
Prophecy Productions 2012
$15.07
$15.05 (used)
Beware The Sword You Cannot SeeBeware The Sword You Cannot See
Prophecy 2018
$7.93
$29.04 (used)
The Corpse Of RebirthThe Corpse Of Rebirth
Lupus Lounge 2011
$12.03
$7.74 (used)
A Shadowplay For Yesterdays (Ltd. Edition) by A Forest Of StarsA Shadowplay For Yesterdays (Ltd. Edition) by A Forest Of Stars
Prophecy Productions
$37.62
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A FOREST OF STARS Discography

A FOREST OF STARS albums / top albums

A FOREST OF STARS The Corpse of Rebirth album cover 3.83 | 8 ratings
The Corpse of Rebirth
Atmospheric Black Metal 2008
A FOREST OF STARS Opportunistic Thieves of Spring album cover 4.38 | 7 ratings
Opportunistic Thieves of Spring
Atmospheric Black Metal 2010
A FOREST OF STARS A Shadowplay for Yesterdays album cover 4.24 | 10 ratings
A Shadowplay for Yesterdays
Avant-garde Metal 2012
A FOREST OF STARS Beware the Sword You Cannot See album cover 3.68 | 7 ratings
Beware the Sword You Cannot See
Atmospheric Black Metal 2015
A FOREST OF STARS Grave Mounds and Grave Mistakes album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Grave Mounds and Grave Mistakes
Atmospheric Black Metal 2018

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A FOREST OF STARS Reviews

A FOREST OF STARS Opportunistic Thieves of Spring

Album · 2010 · Atmospheric Black Metal
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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 The Corpse of Rebirth

Album · 2008 · Atmospheric Black Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
siLLy puPPy
The great shapeshifting metal subgenre that we call black metal never ceases to amaze me as it seems utterly adaptable to just about every other stylistic development conceivable. A few short years beyond the second wave’s domination of the early 90s, bands were branching off like a canopy off the trunk of a tree and becoming less and less like what anyone would’ve conceived as for metal music several years prior. A FOREST OF STARS is yet another band that continued the fertile grounds of cross-pollinating musical genres into a completely different beast altogether. Founded in 2007 in Leeds, England and named after a British Gentlemen’s Club, this band has concocted an interesting blend of post-black metal infused with classical, folk and psychedelia.

The band contrasts two seemingly opposing themes as it tackles a rather primeval Pagan ritualistic effect on its Gaian themed debut THE CORPSE OF REBIRTH and much like its paradoxically titled debut, the band members take on Victorian personas with names such as The Gentleman (keyboards, pianoforte, percussion, drums), Mister Curse (vocals), Katie Stone (vocals, violin, flute) and Mr. T.S. Kettleburner (vocals, guitar, bass). The contrast between the old world sensibilities brought forth by classical fortified constructs inspired by Ralph Vaughan Williams with 21st century black metal reminiscent of Dornenreich and Ulver brings out a downright lugubrious and mysterious run of five sprawling tracks that extend to the cosmos and back.

Of the five tracks only one falls below the ten minute mark at a “shortened” time run of nine and a half minutes. The opening track “God” takes its sweet time to warm up before it closes at the sixteen and a half minute mark. The track characterizes the band’s overall atmospheric post-black style that exhibits a melancholic violin presence throughout the album immediately bringing the somewhat similar sound that My Dying Bride accomplishes in a doom metal context. Indeed A FOREST OF STARS does implement doom metal aspects at times to their music but for the most part the post-metal aspects deliver a steady flow of repetitive tremolo picked riffs and thunderously distorted chords that ratchet up the tension and climax as the distorted black metal guitar riffs aggressively bob up and down behind the rather sedated violin, flute and percussive beat.

Perhaps the greatest make or break of the deal comes in the eccentric vocal form of Mister Curse’s idiosyncratic delivery of pure lunacy as he sounds as if he’s on the verge of a mental breakdown. In this regard the closest analogy is that of the early Summoning albums. It’s a strange avant-garde mix of ingredients with lunatic vocals narrating a Pagan concept under the guise of Victorian post-black metal. The underpinning of the music seems to be based in the Vaughan Williams classical inspiration most easily pegged when the piano pieces dominate and the violin wails like a sad cat howling in an alley somewhere in a cold unforgiving city setting. The music does come off a bit like the psychedelic rock of Pink Floyd as well especially when it throws in some drum rolls reminiscent of “The Dark Side Of The Moon,” such as on the transition from non-metal to black tremolo picking on “Female.”

For a debut album, this one has been released with multiple album covers. There’s the initial CD-R red photo album cover with the logo, the white counterpart, a black and white swirl effect version and another limited edition with a white background and floral geometric configuration. This music is surprisingly hypnotic even when it’s at its full black metal aggressive glory. The violin never gets buried beneath the din which brings up the amazingly well mixed production job that allows all of the sounds to sound balanced in glorious perfection. Despite the tracks extending to lengthy time runs, the music takes the listener on a journey and doesn’t get repetitively dull. It plays itself out and creates psychedelic interludes that naturally fit into the overall theme. This debut from A FOREST OF STARS exemplifies the band’s unique approach from the very beginning which has gained it high regards in the experimental atmospheric side of the black metal world.

A FOREST OF STARS Opportunistic Thieves of Spring

Album · 2010 · Atmospheric Black Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Warthur
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.

A FOREST OF STARS Beware the Sword You Cannot See

Album · 2015 · Atmospheric Black Metal
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bartosso
Beware a double-edged sword...

Today's metal music follows postmodern trends just like any other branch of culture and therein lies the cause of its focus on eclecticism. It's neither a bad nor a good thing in itself but it is, in all certainty, inevitable. Now, some bands have proven capable of turning this artistic philosophy into something truly special and sometimes even innovative. All too often, however, the pursuit of diversity comes at the expense of artistic identity. And well, the new album sees A Forest of Stars doing just that: struggling to keep their unique style intact while adding new elements to the mix. And yeah, well, the whole image sort of went out of focus.

With their steam-powered, victorian/occult/psychedelic, british-to-the-bones “doomened” black metal, A Forest of Stars used to stand out from other post black metal bands. Their sound on Opportunistic Thieves of Spring was both singular and wonderfully consistent - the album simply felt genuine for lack of a better word. Same goes for a little bit more diverse and folky A Shadowplay for Yesterdays which still had a distinct, unique feel to it despite its numerous influences. Adding new elements to the sound they’ve already established was certainly the easiest way to go but also the least fortunate. While the band’s latest offering is not a bad record in itself - quite the opposite, actually! - it falls short of what I wished to hear. The core sound is still as amazing as it used to be. Folk parts are mesmerizing as ever and black metal passages as passionate and ferocious (just listen to the first half of "Hive Mindless"!). Ironically, the first track is the biggest showpiece of what went wrong - none of the tracks that follow are as messy style-wise as this one. To cut a long story short, in addition to the usual elements, there are post-rock, classic prog, psychedelic rock (Pink Floyd), prog metal and avant-metal (most notably Unexpect) influences in the song and the whole album.

All that may sound promising on paper and works pretty well in practice, but after listening to the whole thing I found myself underwhelmed with its obvious lack of focus. You see, the strength of their previous albums paradoxically lies in their ability to build something new and solid upon their diverse influences, not in adding them up. While I can see that the more surreal, elusive and complex nature of the music was intended, the band’s identity totters under weight of the ambition it has to carry.

A FOREST OF STARS Opportunistic Thieves of Spring

Album · 2010 · Atmospheric Black Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
bartosso
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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