A Forest of Stars – Beware The Sword You Cannot See (Prophecy Productions)
★★★

A Forest of Stars on Selective Memory

This is a strange yet unique hybrid of metal coming from A Forest of the Stars. Usually we see symphonic metal being pushed to the limits and then stretched out past its capacity.

But for A Forest of Stars, Beware the Sword You Cannot See is a strange combination of death, adventure metal, and hyperventilation all wrapped up into one. This album is massive, as all symphonic metal albums are. But the way these songs are processed and churned makes the lengthy songs not feel weighted.

When you fire up this release, “Drawing Down the Rain,” gives us a metal opus much like early TNT: clear, succinct, and modest in their taste to save any extremist entities to the points in the album that deserve it. The nine plus minutes is a bold flavor of beginning an album on a lengthy note, but the song moves through without any leaps or bounds, just a clear level head and some fantasy visions. But it only prepares you for the seven-plus minutes of “Hive Mindless,” which has one of the most succinct time measures on the album that builds anticipation and apprehension all in the same breath (but it all turns into an Accept-like song in three seconds while transfers into your drunken waltz of power and corruption), and the seven-plus minute “A Blaze of Hammers,” that turns this beast into one hell of a song, simply for what it is.

A Forest of Stars – Drawing Down the Rain

Let’s talk about the shorter songs. Wait, what’s that? There are shorter songs? They are just parts of a larger song called “Pawn on the Universal Chessboard?” And there are six of them? Interesting. “Part One” is an introduction, building mood music as the vocals hum with female delight. You can imagine the cliche medieval era portrayal through a modern perspective. “Part 2” gives confusion to the listener. Am I wanting to pair that up with Black Sabbath or Type O Negative? “Part 3” is simply brutal. It’s where reality really sets in and the course of action becomes actuality. “Part 4” recants, while “Part 5” lets everything go and the song is just berzerk with rage. “Part 6” mimics the feel of “Part 1,” but serves more like an Epilogue.

Overall, Beware the Sword You Cannot See is an expansive release that may surprise you with elements that feel logical in the first place and challenging in the second.

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