DARK FOREST, for those who don’t know, is IRON MAIDEN meets ENSIFERUM, despite being founded in the Black Country, UK. The fusion of heavy metal and folk is one they’ve been experimenting with since their formation, and it does appear that they’ve struck the right balance with their latest album, Beyond The Veil. Again history and folklore have played a huge part in the albums development, both being reflected in the music as well as the lyrics, being an interest of the bands it’s hardly surprising!
The opening track, On The Edge Of Twilight, starts with a guitar slowly strumming, followed by drums swiftly merging into an upbeat guitar riff, accompanied by Josh Winnard on vocals. A gentle opening that quickly gives way to immense power and overwhelming joy through the fast, upbeat notes. The song continues interchanging between the focus being vocals or guitar until the end where only a guitar strumming the main riff remains, accompanied only by the sound of a fire crackling.
Where The Arrow Falls gets straight down to business, with a guitar riff full of energy, inspiring listeners to dance. This continues throughout the rest of the song, and album really, with power and enthusiasm shown through Josh’s voice, the same way Bruce Dickinson’s does for IRON MAIDEN.
There are several moments on this album where it sounds familiar, but in a comfortable, genre defining way. The opening notes to Autumn’s Crown certainly fit this description with slow heavy chords played on the rhythm guitar and a folky melody on the lead. The short, one minute seven seconds instrumental Lunantishee is another example of this, it’s an interlude reminiscent of Tears from ENSIFERUM’s album Iron. Being positioned mid-way through the album it breaks up the heavier guitars and focuses more on the folk side of Beyond The Veil before the thunder storms and melodic introduction of The Wild Hunt which give way to faster galloping guitars as the song brings back the metal aspects of the band.
The album employs a range of different sounds, from fast guitars to slower drum beats and everything in-between and creates a truly enjoyable album. Interestingly they have incorporated vocals as an equal to the melodic guitars, for example in The Wild Hunt, rather than allowing vocals centre stage. It proves to be very effective and highlights all the influences of the album and the band, namely folk and medieval melodies. Perfect outdoor listening, think music festivals or in the garden with a beer. Whilst not being anything groundbreaking, it upholds the features of the genre superbly and is a well rounded and complete album.
Beyond The Veil will be released August 26 via Cruz Del Sur Music
For more information like DARK FOREST’s official page on Facebook