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Review: A Forest of Stars - The Corpse of Rebirth
A Forest of Stars
The Corpse of Rebirth

Label: Transcendental Creations
Year released: 2008
Duration: 63:36
Tracks: 5
Genre: Black Metal

Rating: 2/5

Review online: January 8, 2009
Reviewed by: Caspian
Readers Rating
The Corpse of Rebirth

Rated 3.62/5 (72.31%) (13 Votes)

A Forest of Stars are the kind of band that could be really freakin' good, if only they knuckled down and focused on what they were best at; instead they taunt us by offering up a few moments here and there of strange, sublime mysticism and then getting back to shitty, somewhat useless attempts at Black Metal and irritating, lazy bits of worthless music- often, it seems, trying to hide their most average ideas under some banner of experimental or avant-garde. It's very much a "throw stuff at a wall, see what sticks" type approach, this album, almost like the main songwriters couldn't really be arsed having to write a whole album. Honestly, it would almost seem like they all just arrived with various little vignettes of songs and pasted them together on ProTools to see what the end result would be.

It's a shame because some of this is really rather unique and would be great if it was made a larger part of the album. It's the stranger bits that work better; the vocoder section in "Male" (metal in general really needs to embrace the vocoder, hell yes), the lush, organ drenched semi-doom bit in "Microcosm", the huge, isis-ish climax of that same song, the up tempo and rather cool last half of "God". Hell, even the percussion jam thing on "Earth and Matter" (though no one will ever beat Neurosis's "Cleanse" for epic percussion jams). These bits are amazing, but really far too rare; there's only maybe 20 minutes of worthwhile music throughout this.

The "stuff thrown at the wall that didn't stick" is varied and plentiful. A pointless drum solo at the start of a song, any part with a violin, the substandard attempts at mid-paced Black Metal - no real riffs, as such, more just slow, droning and dissonant chords. The harsher vocals are consistently terrible- unique in all of their Englishman ranting, perhaps, but terrible. It's like many a band with avant-garde pretentions; they just seem so carried away with their own cleverness and genius that they forget to actually write stuff that's enjoyable. Parts meander on for far too long, there's no real sort of continuity between sections, some sections just didn't need to be there (major case in point being the flute and bass interplay in "Microcosm").

You know, I guess the band this really reminded me of was Godspeed You! Black Emperor (albeit with a fair bit more metal thrown in). It's got the same problems those guys had. Ok, it's not quite as pretentious- it's hard to be as up yourself as Godspeed- but it does think it's really clever. It's all over the place, no song being particularly coherent or well developed for its' entire running time, good ideas are snuffed out mercilessly before they can develop into a full song. And like GYBE the violin, man, the violin is incredibly annoying. Shrill and just ruthlessly irritating, never playing any worthwhile lines, just there, crapping on your face and any chance of enjoyment.

This is pretty bad. Often in these sort of records I can find some sort of solace in at least some aspect of the recording- maybe the drums are OK, perhaps the guitars aren't too bad, maybe the vocalist has something going for him, etc. But there's not really a lot for this record to stand on. Some parts are fantastic, yes, but these parts are so rare that I can only assume it's a coincidence. It's original, perhaps - maybe if you're on of those people always going on about "open mindedness" this'll suit you - but for those of us who, you know, like to listen to music that's good, well written and enjoyable, then I'd avoid this.

Other related information on the site
Review: Opportunistic Thieves of Spring (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: The Corpse of Rebirth (reviewed by Pagan Shadow)
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