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On disc: A Forest Of Stars

Opportunistic Thieves Of Spring - Mike Thompson - 9 stars

Opportunistic Thieves Of Spring

Opportunistic Thieves Of Spring
(Transcendental Creations - 2011)

Opportunistic Thieves Of Spring is the second album from A Forest Of Stars and continues the bands unique psychedelic black metal style. Not that I'm advocating the use of hard drugs, but I truly believe that an album by A Forest Of Stars should come with a free hit of LSD or something. Its probably what you need to understand the extreme psychedelic music created by this Mancunian septet. Make no mistake, once you hit play you will be assaulted by a strange sonic experience that could be described as both odd and baffling.

Admittedly when I heard this band's debut my reaction was not exactly positive. I remember being bored and putting this band down as just some more shitty avant-garde bollocks. The kind of thing that usually seems to come out of the French black metal scene, in fact. Obviously Opportunistic Thieves Of Spring wasn't exactly an album I was looking forward to. That being said, I enjoyed this one far more than I thought I would. This album's content seems to work better than that on the debut. It does not leave me with that same mind-numbing boredom and is actually rather hypnotic.

Perhaps the strongest element of this band is Henry Hyde Bronson's voice. It is a characterful black metal shriek that just seems to fit with the chaotic music on the album. The guitars are, oddly enough, not a driving force within the music of A Forest Of Stars, they are rather just one part of a whole that relies on each facet of its collective being to work in unison. As this is the case the riffs are hardly what you would call spectacular but they work well within the framework of what the band is trying to achieve.

The use of violins and flutes adds another aspect to the sound of A Forest Of Stars and help to alleviate the repetitiveness of the guitars. The traditional instruments are used to magnificent effect on Thunder's Cannonade – which is, at a little over eight minutes, the shortest song on the album. In parts A Forest Of Stars remind me very strongly of Darkestrah, particularly in those sections where traditional instruments are used.

A Forest Of Stars have won me over with this one. Its still odd, its still baffling in parts but its also damn good! Despite my usual preference to stay away from black metal that ventures into experimental territory (heard too much awful stuff) I think I will be listening to this one quite a bit more. If you're a fan of the band's first album then this will probably be even more appealing to you.

PS: No hard drugs were abused during the writing of this review. I drank some cola and ate some ice cream, but that was all.

9 stars

Mike Thompson


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