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Consistency with a spot of positive change. - 75%

AnalogKid, November 3rd, 2011

What with all the innovation in the metal scene nowadays, I quite often don’t get around to “appreciating the classics”. Call me an unappreciative young whippersnapper if you will, but I wasn’t around for a great deal of the classic heavy metal, and as such I have a greater appreciation for what is being produced and released in my lifetime. Now, this doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate a good old heavy metal release that pays homage to the forerunners. This is precisely what British band Dark Forest has now done twice, and their sophomore release “Dawn Of Infinity” is a worthy followup to their debut recording, which was what originally drew me to this band.

While “Dawn Of Infinity” doesn’t have the same rustic medieval feeling of the band’s debut, the clear Iron Maiden and Running Wild influences are present and strong, without ever clouding the group’s own identity. The production is improved this time around, and Dark Forest has switched up its approach a bit, placing more emphasis upon the vocal melodies of Will Lowry-Scott rather than the loping guitar leads that permeated the first album (and there are no instrumentals here). This will inevitably turn some people off, but quite frankly the improvement in the vocals over Christian Horton is substantial. The opener “Hourglass” makes it clear that the band is still capable of filling songs with casually excellent melodies and guitar leads that subtly wind their way into your memory.

Dark Forest isn’t the sort of band that benefits from hefty production, flashy musicianship, or ridiculous wailing vocals, but there is charm aplenty in the abundant choruses and Celtic-tinged guitar riffing that presses on at a uniformly moderate tempo. This is the sort of music that is built by fans of metal for fans of metal, and I imagine Dark Forest being immensely enjoyable to see live with a few good friends and a round of beers. The music is easy to follow, easy to keep up with, the solos are catchy and memorable, and the lyrics easy to understand. Plus, the guitar intros to many songs are of exactly the sort perfect for winding up and exciting the listeners, be they banging their heads and singing along in person, or sitting comfortably in their living room with a contented smile on their face.

This isn’t an album to be repeated constantly, and it’s not complex or intellectually stimulating, but it’s a good bet that anyone can appreciate the enthusiastic approach that Dark Forest have taken. The throwback in sound and the fantasy themes of songs like “Under The Greenwood Tree” and “Black Delta” succeed in transporting the listener to far away paths that are both familiar and strangely exciting. If a band like this can rope even a self-professed speed and production freak like myself, they most certainly will curry the favor of those who usually enjoy this style of early heavy/power metal. “Dawn Of Infinity”, if not breathtaking, is a bounding good time.

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