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When I first heard A Forest of Star's debut album, "The Corpse of Rebirth", a year ago, I was unimpressed by their output. I basically came to know of this band when I viewed the page of My Dying Bride and saw the name of the band under Katie Stone. I though I could give it a try. The album, although which had a lot of atmosphere, failed to leave a mark. As of recently, I tried to reinvigorate my taste in what is dubbed psychedelic black metal and bought "A Shadowplay for Yesterdays". The album totally knocked me off my socks. The whole album is a tonic to the senses and every time I listen to it the songs form a vivid story in my mind as if I were an entity roaming the dark, dank alleys of Victorian London.
The great thing about many British metal bands is that their lyrics contain subtleties that many even good bands do not have. The lyrics are very well-written, bringing out some stories once they are read and understood, but the thing that separates this album from their first one is the sound.
While the first album had a raw, droning sound with heavy use of violins, this album, however, has a much more polished sound and more melodic than "The Corpse of Rebirth". The keyboards have also become very prominent as well as the acoustic guitar fills in some songs (acoustic guitar fills are used to great effect in A Prophet for a Pound of Flesh). The guitar sound was sometimes less impressive, however the overall sound was well- produced. More over, this album deviated from the band's previous tendencies of composing very lengthy songs. As of this album, the longest piece is A Prophet for a Pound of Flesh, ticking in at 10 minutes and 11 seconds.
Overall, it is an excellent album, one that black metal lovers should try out. I do not think A Forest of Stars is a black metal band in the conventional sense as they have a lot of avant-garde elements in their music and have found a nice niche for themselves. My favourite tracks from this album are Gatherer of the Pure, Corvus Corona (I and II), and A Prophet for a Pound of Flesh.