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Dark Forest: Beyond The Veil

With a name like Dark Forest, you won't be too surprised to find that this UK metal act like to spend time deep in the woods, clad in tops that lace up the front and with leather waistcoats over their shoulders. Neither will you be too shocked to discover that they also boast a hefty collection of Iron Maiden-isms weaved throughout their folk meets NWOBHM. With the likes of Blind Guardian or Skyclad also springing to mind, there's a distinct niche this outfit are aiming for and yet if you like the updated Maiden sound of recent years, and fancy hearing it with something a touch more European minded, and with a few more obvious folk references thrown in, then this may well be the music to accompany your quest.

Be warned though, for in the same way that Maiden can also be guilty of extending their tracks over their natural length, so too do Dark Forest strive to make what should be four to five minute gallops into seven or eight minute epics. And nothing wrong with that there would be if the songs themselves had the intrigue or variance to deserve such lengthy journeys. In truth little does and while that doesn't stop "Earthbound" or "The Wild Hunt" being crafted metal meanders, meander they do and too often without intent. Striking riffs and foot on the monitor bass attacks blunted by over familiarity and the sort of noodling that blights much of Maiden's recent output. And yet, with singer Josh Wynard giving an assured and controlled display, and guitarists Christian Horton (Cloven Hoof) and Patrick Jenkins locking in tightly together, there's no denying that there's still more than enough to be impressed by.

A few short instrumentals of the scene setting variety defuse the album's energy at times and while it's hard to suggest that the intricate guitar work of "Ellydan" or "Lunantishee" aren't excellently executed, neither do they provide excitement. Something that proves even more of a disappointment when you begin to realise just how good Dark Forest can be when they get it right, "Blackthorn" a thirst quenching, spikey and bold smack of riff laden metal, while the dramatic (and after all my complaining about song length, excellently thirteen minute-plus) "The Lore Of The Land" is a pointed stab of British metal in all its glory.

In the end it makes for a slightly uneven, but still hugely enjoyable romp-along of an album. Yes it's flawed and yes it and a few of its songs are too long, but if Maiden and folk metal are your thing, there's a good chance Beyond The Veil will hit you hard. If Dark Forest could rein in their excesses, they could be huge.

Track Listing
1. On The Edge Of Twilight
2. Where The Arrow Falls
3. Autumn's Crown
4. Blackthorn
5. Lunantishee
6. The Wild Hunt
7. Earthbound
8. The Undying Flame
9. MÍn-An-Tol
10. Beyond The Veil
11. Ellylldan
12. The Lore Of The Land

Added: March 5th 2017
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Dark Forest at bandcamp
Hits: 1208
Language: english

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