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A Forest Of Stars - Grave Mounds and Grave Mistakes

A Forest Of Stars
Grave Mounds and Grave Mistakes
by Gareth Beams at 07 October 2018, 4:38 PM

The year is 1898. The Gentlemen's Club of A Forest Of Stars invites you to a midnight performance of their latest maniacal masterpiece, "Grave Mounds And Grave Mistakes". This exclusive brotherhood embraces the decadent, conflicting nature of their Victorian England, weaving sickly gin-tinged thoughts with bizarre, hypnotic melodies to fully express the decadence of their era. 120 years later, in the year 2018, A FOREST OF STARS would be nothing less than one of the UK's leading Avantgarde black metal outfits. On "Grave Mounds And Grave Mistakes", the septet takes William Blake's proverb of Hell "Exuberance is beauty" as its principle, and celebrates lushness and excess in their music, lyrics and artwork. As an exploration of a struggle against insanity, it also represents the band's desire to revisit earlier works. A more atmospheric album than its predecessor, 2015's "Beware The Sword You Cannot See", this album has nods to the previous sonic explorations on 2012's "A Shadowplay For Yesterdays". We also hear the band utilizing more open space and sound textures in addition to their trademark Avantgarde Black Metal, dipping into the raw sounds of 2010's "Opportunistic Thieves Of Spring".

The lyrics build upon themes of loss, death and inevitability, describing scenes of decay and destruction – magniloquent, abstract, metaphoric, with an abysmal message at its core. Like the crazed tenant swearing he hears the dead man's heart, "Grave Mounds And Grave Mistakes" writhes upon the floorboards, bashing its head in and screaming, "let me out". From the blistering Black Metal fury of "Precipice Pirouette" to one last cursed dance in the delightfully strange "Decomposing Deity Dancehall", this album will reach from the heights of psychedelia to the seas of opium dreamscapes.

Special attention should also be payed to the artwork of "Grave Mounds And Grave Mistakes": all visuals are not digital/virtual creations or photographs of existing scenery. A FOREST OF STARS have been crafting the artwork physically, composed of miniature models commissioned, built and photographed over a period of two years. The models and structures are cut from card and each detail is hand-made. This approach finds its climax in the collector's edition boxset, which was not only designed but also hand crafted by the Club, limited to 500 copies. This dedication to the visual and haptic presentation of music is without equal.

Precipice Pirouette” is a madman’s diary entry with the pace reacting in the speed of his own thoughts and insanity. It blends the folk styles in the guitars, as they keep a slow but steady pace in parts, to allow the song to flow and remain controlled. The song does spark to life allowing the surge of black metal to poke its nose through. The sound never changes its approach too much, it has the darkened styles that we’ve come to expect, but not throwing too many new ideas in from the start, just giving us what we want. The intro to “Premature Invocation” has the feel that is would be played by Elves in a Tolkien novel. The Psychedelic forest sounds are replaced by the drums being introduced, once more mad muttered vocals run wild, as if he were trying to convince us and himself of his sanity. After another brief random surge of instrumental antics, the pace takes off, the vocals keep up, with rage felt passion

Children of the Night Soil” has more frantic pace from the off. The drums and guitar have been kicked into overdrive! Its far darker than what we have heard so far, its about time. The pace is more upbeat, but the folk sounds have been replaced more with a Blackened approach. It makes a good change for the album, allowing a new impression into the album

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. Persistence Is All (Intro)
2. Precipice Pirouette
3. Tombward Bound
4. Premature Invocation
5. Children of the Night Soil
6. Taken by the Sea
7. Scripturally Transmitted Disease
8. Decomposing Deity Dance Hall
Jon B. Cumiskey (aka Mr. T.S. Kettleburner) - Vocals, Guitars
Richard Blakelock (aka The Gentleman) - Keyboards, Pianoforte, Percussion
Dan Eyre (aka Mister Curse) - Vocals
Katie Stone (aka Katheryne, Queen of the Ghosts) - Vocals, Violin, Flute
Gareth Hodgson (aka Mr. John "The Resurrectionist" Bishop) - Drums, Percussion
Ol Jessop (aka Mr. Titus Lungbutter) - Bass
Mike Midgley (aka Mr William Wight-Barrow) - Guitars
Record Label: Prophecy Productions


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Edited 05 December 2022

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