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Afforested – Before the Beech Mast Begins to Fall

Before the Beech Mast Begins to Fall
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 29 October 2020, 11:51 AM

AFFORESTED is a Progressive Folk Metal band from parts unknown. Without a Facebook page, website, or entry on Encyclopaedia Metallum, we fortunately reviewed their previous album in early 2020, so I was able to lift some information on the band from that entry. I believe that “Before the Beech Mast Begins to Fall” is the band’s fifth release, and contains twelve new tracks.

“Naval Oak” leads off the album. It’s a short, two-and-half-minute track, with jovial recorder and a chunky guitar riff. Some odd keys mix in as well…this is unusual music from the start. “Before the Beech Mast Begins to Fall” is a three-minute track, opening with a bit of a heavy riff and some gallop in the drums. So far, however, no vocals, and just these odd pieces of Folky Metal. “Roe Rings” is four-minutes in length. The song opens with a bit of a swing, and the bass guitar can be heard prominently here. Some spacy keys spice things up a bit. The main sound hard to track…they guys go in many different directions here. Some weird recorder notes take the song to completion.

“Stag Beetles and Fox Gloves” is another short track, clocking in at just over two-minutes in length. Again, the bass guitar provides much of the melody here, along with some keyboard and recorder notes. “Inglewood Forest” is another quick blast, with a main melody line that is easy to follow. The music however is again, quite odd, but they put their convictions forth with confidence. Keyboards pick up the melody line at one point and run with it. “Southern Hawker” is just under three-minutes in length. Opening with grandiose keyboard notes, it then hushes to just some key strikes here and there, before swelling again. Guitars, bass, and drums join the fold in what becomes a fast moving song. Again, the bass stands out here for me.

“The Conqueror’s Ghost” is another short blast of a solemn guitar riff, played together with the bass line. The entire song is nicely written but just doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. It’s like, they have a clear direction for their music, but it’s more about the journey than the destination. “Sir Richard at the Lee” is another shorter song. I finally get who the band reminds me of. Remember CKY? Think of their compositions without the Folky elements. “When Ash Keys Fly” opens with a faster moving song, with some keys in support. I like these more straightforward tracks a little better than the ones that seem to meander a bit.

“The New Forest Cicada” opens with some lead guitar notes heavy with wah-wah. They play quite tightly with one another and there are no missed notes. Some spacy keys join in and it’s over almost as fast as it started. “Listen to the Wood Ants” features some more of that tight instrumentation but again, to what end I ask? The keyboards are very strange. It harkens me back to yesteryear for some reason. “Honey Buzzard” closes the album. It’s a faster moving song with a little more pep. The way the riff dances around is noteworthy, and it’s clear that the guys are talented at many different instruments, but this music did very little for me. I suppose it just lacks direction in some ways. I don’t mind instrumental music at all, but it needs to have some depth to it. Perhaps that is what is most lacking on the album for me.

Songwriting: 3
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 3
Production: 8

2 Star Rating

1. Naval Oak
2. Before the Beech Mast Begins to Fall
3. Roe Rings
4. Stag Beetles and Fox Gloves
5. Inglewood Forest
6. Southern Hawker
7. The Conqueror’s Ghost
8. Sir Richard at the Lee
9. When Ash Keys Fly
10. The New Forest Cicada
11. Listen to the Wood Ants
12. Honey Buzzard
Jonathan Betts – Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Bass, Mandolin, Vocals
Alex Betts – Drums, Keyboards, Recorder, Whistle, Percussion, Vocals
Record Label: Independent


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