A Forest of Stars
Opportunistic Thieves of Spring
Overall Rating: 6.2/10
After hearing both praise and disparagement that seemed to split the black metal community in half over this album, I finally broke down and listened to it with the intention to throw my two cents into the mix. Let it be known that I in no way fall for gimmicks. So having seen the band clad in their Victorian clothing before ever hearing them play, a note was a turn off (take notes here Swashbuckle). Perhaps the difference between A Forest of Stars and the multitude of others that attempt such feats is the earnestness with which A Forest of Stars performs their theatrics.
A Forest of Stars hit the scene sometime in 2007 and released their debut The Corpse of Rebirth shortly after in 2008. The Corpse.. introduced black metal fans across the globe to a highly stylized brand of metal that oozed English sophistication and harkened back to some sort of imaginary Victorian era where Sir. Arthur C. Doyle and Edgar Allen Poe married their styles over distorted guitars and violins. In Opportunist Thieves of Spring this story doesn't change much, save for an obvious maturity, a bit more abstract approach and that, despite all this, bored me.
After giving the Corpse of Rebirth an obligatory playing order to put their new record in context, I began to spin Opportunistic... and felt almost as split as the entire community must have when they first released it. The old ‘I like their old stuff’ cliché is not applicable in this instance because I listened to both albums within the same day and ultimately prefer their first. Opportunistic Thieves of Spring is not without its merits through, the tracks Starfire’s Memory and Delay’s Progression both had me captivated in their hypnotic sonic spheres. The other tracks are brilliantly designed but I felt like I kept falling in and out of conciseness through them and three listens later, I still feel like there is a huge gap between the first track and the final two. If I had treated this review as I usually try to (approaching each album as though they are the bands only one) A Forest of Stars would have one less fan.
Maybe I am just an old asshole that would rather pitch his tent in the skeptical camp than fully commit to anything too new or too innovative, but the genre does need bands like a Forest of Stars, and the sophomore release is hardly enough to convict a band especially given my overall enjoyment of their first record.
Opportunistic Thieves of Spring is available now on Transcendental Creations.