Hailing from the UK's Black Country, and keeping their heavy metal true, is Dark Forest with their third album, The Awakening. On board for the new long player is new singer Josh Winnard and guitarist Pat Jenkins.
Once more the band sticks to the tried and true, what they've been doing from the start, a 21st century version of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal in their music. The band offers strong clean vocals in harmonious arrangements, more twin lead guitar play, and a tight rhythm section with clear mix bringing out the bass. The combination of riffs, melodies, and Winnard's voice might remind some of Sweden's Supreme Majesty during their Danger period. Though that band was clearly European power metal, you'll catch some of that band's flavor in the pace of Rise Like Lions or the vocal harmonies Sacred Signs and Penda's Fen.
Fundamentally, the more I listen Dark Forest succeeds on the simple triad of melody, vocals, and a twin guitar attack. It all hearkens back to the things that Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, and other period 30 years ago. You definitely get the Maiden tone with Immortal Remains and Secret Commonwealth (also another example of how the bass line brought forward, always a good thing. Perhaps the signature Dark Forest song here is the closing Sons of England. Obviously an ode to English spirit, the song has a marching majestic anthem-like feel, notably with the twin guitar flair soaring over the charging rhythm section. It's solid stuff, classic melodic heavy metal. Easily recommended.
With a new singer and new second guitarist, Dark Forest keeps the flag of traditional, NWoBHM flavored, melodic heavy metal waving high and strong.
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