Saturday, 6 August 2016

Dark Forest – Beyond the Veil (2016) / 85%

Epic English artful metal

The English lads are back with their fourth album and it’s their most ambitious work since their formation. Beyond the Veil is a truly epic album clocking over seventy minutes and really showcase everything the band can do. I’ll admit the length was overwhelming at first and I still think it’s too long for the genre they play but there’s nothing disposable to be found on the record. They suffer from the same syndrome one of their main inspirations has been suffering for a while, I’m of course talking about the overlong albums of Iron Maiden.

Their mix of classic NWOBHM with the fun folky melodic side of Skyclad is enjoyable but since their formula is so uplifting, it’s a bit too much at times. They do unleash the necessary slower and calm moments such as the two interludes but those are a bit too short to really catch your breath between the busy, often long numbers (six songs over six minutes). Songs like “Earthbound” bring a melancholic mid-paced feel but still brings out the riffs. For such a long album, there’s not a lot of surprises but the title track has those added female vocals adding an ethereal influence to one of the catchiest tracks of Beyond the Veil. This same song also has a pure folk break without turning it into a cheese fest.

I’ve been listening to the album
a lot and while it’s an exhausting experience, it’s nevertheless a rewarding. I do feel like skipping some tracks to reach the concluding fourteen minutes epic “The Lore of the Land” which really feel it could be on Dance of Death or The Final Frontier (I love those albums by the way)

Josh Winnard’s second album with the band sees the singer expands on his performance from The Awakening. The dude sounds really good and fits the elegant traditional metal identity of Dark Forest very well. His approach is clean, powerful and he has a lot of range and really fits the powerful vibe the band explores. Sure, he’s not rough or anything and is perhaps one of the most noticeable power metal aspects of the band but I enjoyed his contribution. The choruses and vocal lines are super epic and never boring.

Patrick Jenkins and the band founder Christian Horton both delivers excellent twin guitar harmonies and like their ancestors, their guitar styles encompass heavy, folk, epic power or even speed metal and considering the songs are packed, it’s always combined into a tightly knit package. The leads are well written and they also know how to write clean soothing moments (like on “The Wild Hunt” ).

While it’s too long-winded for nothing, Beyond the Veil is a great album worth your precious time if you like this kind of metal. They’re certainly able to represent England’s past in a wonderful way.

Originally published on The Metal Observer

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