Just 5 months after the release of their incredibly weak debut demo, Crimson Moon already showed some very noticeable improvement with Into the Nocturnal Forest. There has been a major change in the lineup, as Crimson Moon is no longer a one-man-act here. Scorpios has teamed up with Overlord, and it seems that this additional member has allowed for great improvement in Crimson Moon's sound. Into the Nocturnal Forest can't compete with Crimson Moon's full-length albums, but it shows potential and talent; two things that were severely lacking on the debut demo. Fans of old school black metal may find interest in this, but I can't say that I'm really blown away by Into the Nocturnal Forest. This is a collector's item only, but considering that I hesitate in saying that about their debut, it's a definite improvement. Though Crimson Moon still had to work out the kinks and develop their sound a bit further, this is a decent demo that should appeal to some black metal fans.
The music here is the same as it was on Crimson Moon's debut demo - raw, unpolished, old school black metal. This time around they've added some more keyboards into the mix, as well as some softer and more melodic sections. Something like the outro to "Nocturnity" or the haunting "Vengeance of the Dragon: The Communion (Outro)" accurately represents the more eclectic sound that Crimson Moon has developed this time around. Into the Nocturnal Forest still suffers from the same flaws that plagued their debut demo, but they are (fortunately) in a much better state. Although the production is still less than desirable and the programmed drums are uninspired and lifeless, neither of these aspects are in as much of a sorry state as they were on the debut. I can hear all of the instruments well, the playing is much tighter, and the final product is all-around more enjoyable. At under 15 minutes, Into the Nocturnal Forest is a short demo, but it works fairly well. There's enough variation that you don't feel gypped out of material, but it's not too long either. Like its predecessor, a longer amount of music in this vein could easily get tedious.
Into the Nocturnal Forest is an improvement for Crimson Moon, but it's clear that they still were far from their peak. Most black metal fans can easily skip the first two Crimson Moon demos and dive right into the full-lengths. If a die-hard fan of the band wants to experience a Crimson Moon demo, this is definitely the one to get. Since this is still just a collector's item only, the most I can give is a generous 2 stars. This is a very flawed demo, but it shows some progress for this American black metal act.
1. The Unclean One (Intro) (1:36)
2. Nocturnity (4:51)
3. Veins of Immortality (2:50)
4. Transcend the Darkness (3:37)
5. Vengeance of the Dragon: The Communion (Outro) (1:59)