...And here's another brilliant traditional metal release this year. Dark Forest's Dawn of Infinity has everything that makes for great heavy metal music - from the cover art over the lyrics to the riffs and vocals.
Drawing primarily on the sound of NWoBHM, spicing it up with elements from very early power metal, Dark Forest have committed an instant classic. A key element on this album is the heavy use of twin guitar harmonic leads, and melodic leads in general, while another is the use of galloping guitars and classic metal riffs and chord progressions. And, although this sounds like your average Iron Maiden rip-off, Dark Forest do actually not sound like Iron Maiden; they are definitely inspired by Maiden and make use of similar aesthetics, but their sound is definitely their own. In addition to the traditional metal elements, Dark Forest make use of certain elements from power metal now and then albeit in a discrete and non-blatant manner, also incorporating a couple of folk elements into their overall sound (most prominently in 'The Green Knight' and 'Under the Greenwood Tree'.
The production is fairly unpolished, and the old-school left-guitar vs. right-guitar format is used, which gives plenty of room for the bass in the middle and the booming drums, which are spread all over the mix. And, this old-school production is one of the things that I really appreciate about this release, because, not only is it charming, it is also refreshing in relation to how polished even metal music has become these days in terms of production.
Another feature of this album that deserves mention is Will Lowry-Scott's very distinct and expressive vocals which, if one were to make a point of comparison, sound like something in between Geoff Tate and Blaze Bayley (and, let it be noted that I really admire Bayley's work with Wolfsbane, so this is a positive point of comparison), and his vocal performance definitely makes a huge contribution to the overall sound of this brilliant metal album, plus it suits the larger-than-life lyrics perfectly, which range from sci-fi over fantasy and Arthurian legends to the frailty of the space-time continuum (especially if some supernatural being starts messing with it).
Dawn of Infinity is unpolished. It's catchy. It's melodic. It's larger than life. It's and instan classic. It's true heavy metal.
2. Lightyears On
3. The Green Knight
4. Seize The Day
5. The Tor
6. Through A Glass Darkly
7. The Stars My Destination
8. Under The Greenwood Tree
9. Black Delta
10. A Deadly Premonition