A Forest Of Stars - Grave Mounds And Grave Mistakes review

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Band: A Forest Of Stars
Album: Grave Mounds And Grave Mistakes
Release date: September 2018

Disc I
01. Persistence Is All
02. Precipice Pirouette
03. Tombward Bound
04. Premature Invocation
05. Children Of The Night Soil
06. Taken By The Sea
07. Scripturally Transmitted Disease
08. Decomposing Deity Dancehall

Disc II ["Folklore For The Flies" EP - Limited Boxset Only]
01. So Much Walking Dust (Parasite For Sore Eyes)
02. Plight Of The Uneven Heathen

Two things are unfair about Grave Mounds And Grave Mistakes: how high the bar was set by previous records, and how unfair it is for other bands that they have to compete with A Forest Of Stars.

Relistening to this band for the first time in a while with this album, it feels very weird to call them a black metal band. Black metal there is here, but as of now, no other black metal band sounds the way that A Forest Of Stars do. They've been evolving quite a bit since their landmark debut The Corpse Of Rebirth made a tremendous wave; as more releases followed, as the band expanded in members, so did the sound shift slowly and slowly away from black metal into more gothic, folkish, classical and avant-garde territories that they were already treading in. Although arguably none of the releases really reached the highs of The Corpse Of Rebirth, the band was always extremely consistent and even reached another high with Beware The Sword You Cannot See. It's quite obvious that Grave Mounds And Grave Mistakes has a lot to live up to.

There isn't necessarily a huge step in any other direction than what was already present on the previous release, but at the same time it doesn't feel like a simple rehash. With a sound as unique as A Forest Of Stars, even a complete rehash would feel completely fresh. Their Victorian England theme and inspiration has been stated before, and their approach of black metal (or rather music) with said theme is one of theatrical melodrama. Think the drama (and violin) of My Dying Bride combined with the execution of Negură Bunget. And despite the olden theme, the sound feels modern and fresh in a way that transposes it from theatrical to cinematic, if that makes sense. Just listen to the glitchy intro of "Tombward Bound" if you don't believe me. I usually talk about production in the latter parts of the review, but a lot of this album's strengths come from how much the production enhances the cinematic experience. It's not spotless, but it makes the music so engaging that it makes it difficult to dissect the music for flaws.

Also due to how engaging the music is, even though the album feels long (somewhere around an hour in length), it doesn't feel tiring or like it carries some weight that should be shredded, which isn't something easy to do when most of the songs are getting close to the ten-minute mark. Maybe some longer mood-setting pieces could be shorter, but they shouldn't be. The post-rock-ish and symphonic influences ensures that there are plenty of those, and I'd dare say that they hold more weight in the album than the black metal parts. If you take out the theatrical (this is the last time I use this word, I promise) ramblings of frontman Mister Curse and the rest of the vocals, too, I see no way that this couldn't be used as a film soundtrack. Leave those in, though, because they add so much. The ramblings give it a bit of a Dødheimsgard or Arcturus-esque feeling, but with a more distinct personality, and Katheryne's vocals really shine on more laidback songs like the "Taken By The Sea".

I'm struggling to find anything to complain about regarding Grave Mounds And Grave Mistakes. Maybe the production could be a tad better. Maybe they should get even more avant-garde. Maybe they should do a split with Vulture Industries, the band they sound closest to. But I really can't complain about any of those. But maybe you can.


Written on 04.11.2018 by My opinion is objective, sorry if you don't agree, but you're wrong.


Comments: 6   Visited by: 213 users
04.11.2018 - 18:25
Great presentation of a very beautiful album. I also wanted to review it but you were a fast ninja
04.11.2018 - 23:47
Written by nikarg on 04.11.2018 at 18:25

Great presentation of a very beautiful album. I also wanted to review it but you were a fast ninja

I'm glad I didn't let you because it gave me the opportunity to listen to it much more

I also relistened to The Corpse Of Rebirth and it's hard to believe that it's the same band.
- I've dreamt of that for years.
- Dying?
- Running.

2020 goodies
05.11.2018 - 04:12
There is a lot to take in. During the instrumental moments it is utterly fascinating that this is a performing band and not some soundtrack kit. Gonna have to give it quite a few listens to get the full appreciation of what we have here.

Thanks for the review
05.11.2018 - 19:29
Baz Anderson
I just saw these live last weekend, so had to listen to this to know what to expect. The last three songs on the album stuck with me, good stuff.
05.11.2018 - 21:12
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Great reviev, its more BM as some BM bands can put out, decent album, amazing one, amazing band, best avantgarde band.
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
22.11.2018 - 06:21
Really great album. Has any of their albums been not great? One of the best experimental BM bands ever? I'd like to think so.

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