Dark Forest (UK) - The Awakening review


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Band: Dark Forest (UK)
Album: The Awakening
Release date: February 2014

01. The Awakening
02. Sacred Signs
03. Penda's Fen
04. Turning Of The Tide
05. Rise Like Lions
06. Immortal Remains
07. Secret Commonwealth
08. The Last Season
09. Sons Of England

From the band name, you might expect something bleak, grim, and frostbitten. From the album title, you might expect a cornerstone of early feminist literature. What follows is something that surpasses both.

Joined by a new singer and a new guitarist, Dark Forest (UK) present their third album: a power-ish love letter to the classic heavy metal sound of the late '70s and early '80s. They have chopped out some of the thrashier elements of their previous albums; The Awakening seems to have a more streamlined sound, but it still bears the mark of nostalgic longing.

Guitar harmonies seem like a dead art nowadays. They were cool when Thin Lizzy used them, but now they are a dreadfully overused way for Joey and Fritz Metalcore to 'liven up' some mundane riffs and seem slightly more musically literate. Too many folks these days think that guitar harmonies have an infinite novelty, when in reality they achieve new heights of banality by using them as a crutch. Dark Forest (UK) are not, fortunately, counted in this group. There are some sublime and well-constructed harmonies to be found on this album - they are bursts of Iron Maiden-y musicality, not rancid garnish.

There is a folksy feeling at times - not because of any obvious traditional elements in the music, but because of the earnest reverence for their musical heritage. This is heavy metal in the tradition of Iron Maiden, Witchfynde, Satan That point in history when heavy metal, early power metal, and NWOBHM ran in the same circles comes howling back into view on songs like the title track and "The Last Season." Dark Forest (UK)'s music is similar to other revivalists like Wolf or Holy Grail, but with a slight lo-fi quality that makes it sound more genuine.

The Awakening opens and closes very strongly, ending with the powerful "Sons Of England" and leaving an aftertaste of subtle dolor. There is a certain dramatic intensity about this album, but at the same time it is a great piece of good, clean heavy metal fun. Anyone looking for some old school heavy/power metal should look no further.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 8


Written on 18.01.2014 by I'm the reviewer, and that means my opinion is correct.


Comments: 3   Visited by: 67 users
21.01.2014 - 00:53
After only having been able to hear the single "Sacred Signs"; sounds quite like the 2011 release "Dawn of Infinity". But I like the current singer a bit better. Thanks to ScreamingSteelUS for the heads up with this review!
21.01.2014 - 00:58
Written by theembryo on 21.01.2014 at 00:53

Thanks to ScreamingSteelUS for the heads up with this review!

You are quite welcome! That's my job.
Row, row, fight the power
Djently down the stream

I'm the Agent of Steel.
21.01.2014 - 01:42
And well done indeed - Rock on in 2014!!

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