If the existence of a musician or a band is meaningful only when its proposal appears unique and easily recognizable, then we have to give credit to A Forest Of Stars for having fully succeeded in this difficult task. The picturesque coven of Victorian gentlemen has been on track for a decade now and has continued to offer us albums denoted by a constant crescendo of quality, making the mixture between black metal, which is solidly the basis of the sound, a typically British folk and dark atmospheres more and more fluid. This latest Grave Mounds And Grave Mistakes is even higher, bringing the musical idea of the Leeds-based band much closer to perfection: in fact, it rarely happens that an album of more than an hour’s duration manages to be totally involving without showing any sign of failure or getting lost in interlocutory delays. Moreover, after the intro Persistence Is All, a track like Precipice Pirouette transports us without delay to that era that, thanks to A Forest of Stars, we have learned to know a little better, assisted by the stentorian and theatrical story of Mr.Curse, fundamental in the economy of every work of the band, even if to someone it may seem an alien element to the evocativeness of the sound. The melodic afflatus of Precipice Pirouette, with Katerine’s soft counter-song, is broken by a sudden and characteristic outburst, before the flute introduces Premature Invocation, a track that opens in a final of dramatic intensity. It’s the black metal, furious as we know it in its most canonical guise, that connotes Children Of The Night Soil, constituting a parenthesis decidedly less bewitching in its form, thus creating a sharp contrast with the more rarefied poetry of Taken By The Sea, entirely performed by Katerine. A more delicate and in its own way ethereal parenthesis, which introduces the last twenty minutes of the album, first with Scripturally Transmitted Disease, a track that changes connotations several times until it settles on an atmospheric final leaving space for the closing of the amazing Decomposing Deity Dance Hall, a crazy track in which the folk scent of the initial part is momentarily cornered for a few minutes in which it seems that ours, during a mediumistic session, are possessed by the spirit of Alan Parson’s Project, before the airy and solemn black sounds lead again to the end of a wonderful album. You have to be a superior musician to be able to offer a record so dense, complex, full yet always enjoyable; perhaps their unpredictability and the difficult stylistic location will always keep them in a comfortable cult niche, the fact is that today A Forest Of Stars are one of the most original and exciting musical expressions of the entire metal scene and it would be nice if more people would notice them.

2018 – Prophecy Productions