Six years flew by since the release of the debut record under the flag of Dark Forest, before the second release named Land Of The Evening Star finally was released. This great timeframe is quite unusual for one-man bands, as we all know straighter release cycles. Was something changed in this span, or is there any other reason why it took so long?
Aurora Borealis was the cliche titel of the debut record of mastermind David Parks, which was released back in 2006. The record can easily be described as pagan metal with some black metal influences and there are some references to older bands like Thyrfing and such. Especially the high-pitched keyboards were the highlights of the songs while the rest of the orchestration and the production were oriented to other mid-nineties bands. The song structures were quite good back then, but the new record is way deeper. The record offers 45 minutes of playing time and eight songs, which causes Land Of The Evening Star to be worth the money in terms of form, let’s see if it’s worth the money in terms of content.
The intro seems to indicate that Land Of The Evening Star is full of cliches as well, as it features a whole lot of synthesizer sounds as well to create a threatening atmosphere while the drums are quite impelling and therefore creating the mood of awakening. This intro is fluently transformed into the first song which shall be described to give an impression of the whole record, as the songs are quite similiarily structured. Fast guitar riffs are combined with impelling drum structures and humming bass sounds to form the foreground of the sound while synthesizer sounds are creating the basic atmosphere in the background. As the song features the same basic melody as the intro, it’s quite melancholic (and therefore cold), threatening but still full of hope. The song pends between faster and slower passages.
This dichotomic structure of sound, with every instrument playing in the foreground except synthesizer sounds which are in the background, can be found in every single song of the record, although some synthesizer sounds take the lead in really small passages. Those synthesizer sounds are ripened compared to the debut record, which means they are deeper and feature more epic sounds instead of those high-pitched annoying ones. The songs are reminding me of bands like Windir and it’s successors like Mistur instead of bands like Thyrfing, but without piano-like parts the first two featured quite some time. The guitars are playing melodies which enhance the mood that is created by those epic but subtle synthesizer structures. The overall sound is quite untypical for a canadian black metal release, which could be tracked back to the great pagan metal influence, but even Sorcier Des Glaces, who play quite straight nineties-black metal of Norwegian feature the typical sound.
This isn’t a really great problem though, I just thought it might be important for everyone who digs this special canadian style though, as those people could be disappointed otherwise. The song structures are quite varied, and although the riffs are looped quite some times, there are always alternations before they get boring. Especially the change from fast and cold riffs to really warm and slower soli (which are quite rocking too) is really cool. The greatest flaw of the record is the drum computer, although the production in general is quite good, as it is too uniform which causes the record to be a bit soulless. The bell of the ride cymbal can be compared to the sound a hammer makes when its slammed unto the anvil. Another small flaw is, although the songs are well done, it lacks sovereignty and you can’t really name a thing that is unique to this record.
Land Of The Evning Star is a record, that everyone who digs pagan black metal bands like Windir, Mistur and Thyrfing should have. It features every elements a good pagan black metal record should have and it’s really well done. On the other hand there is not a single song that features elements you haven’t heard before. If you have enough pagan black metal records you may not want to buy this, as it’s really well done but not really special. If you don’t like synthesizer sounds/keyboards in black metal structures you won’t like this as well. Everyone else should risk an ear, as this record is really well done and can entertain you for quite some time.
Date of release: March, 8th 2012
|1.||Rediscovery of the New World||01:38|
|2.||Like Towers They Reach To The Sky||04:55|
|4.||A Few Acres of Snow||08:57|
|6.||Northmen of the New World||07:03|
|8.||Bjarne Herjúlfsson ca. 985CE||07:25|