Dark Forest ‎– Oak, Ash & Thorn CD


Taking formation at the beginning of the century, Dark Forest have been churning out a reputable handful of full-lengths since. Their appeal comes from warmer melodies and powerful leads that keep things at ten on a cleanliness scale, and earlier this year the latest record Oak, Ash & Thorn hit the market. Based off of how the album sleeve presents itself, that couldn't have been to hard to figure out.

For the most part, a lot of this will resonate with those that crave a healthy blend of newer era Iron Maiden with some modern hard rock touches and classic German power metal. A song that jumps out is "Relics," as it uses the chorus repetition that allows things to stick nicely to its advantage. Moreover, the solos here reflect that perfectly and draw in similar feelings to cement the overall idea. Others like "Wayfarer's Eve" stray away from repetition but firmly grasp the same general makeup. One of the ending tracks "Eadric's Return" blasts away with thrashier riffs and an overall harder push, which was blended in decently.

When something is channeled through with this tight of a production job, it can go multiple directions. A lot of the sharper leads have a fairly nautical finishing to them, lightening up the harder riffs that back everything up. It's truly pleasant to the ear, and the deeper you get into the disc, the more they intertwine that with epic or progressive structures. "Avalon's Rising" is a good example, as it pushes into the seven minute mark. The cream-filled center is the best part, where the guitars go on hooky tangents, before reviving itself and ending on a beautifully clear note.