Dark Forest – Oak, Ash, & Thorn Review

Score9/10
GenreEpic Heavy Metal
CountryBritain
Runtime52:45
Release Date24 April 2020
Record LabelCruz del Sur

Oak, Ash, & Thorn is the fifth offering of medieval power metal from England’s Dark Forest. These veteran warriors have lost none of their lustre with time and, even though they’ve been around nearly twenty years, this is one of their best albums to date.

As far as the overall sound goes, you can expect epic metal with aspects of Skyclad, Iron Maiden, and a tiny bit of classic Rhapsody thrown in. The mixing is a bit more lo-fi, which is perfect for creating that nostalgic, traditional feel. On a sidenote, Oak, Ash, & Thorn plays like the opposite of albums from Grendel’s Syster; where Grendel’s Syster plays a slow, steady, doomy epic metal, Dark Forest drives on with a questing spirit that’s worthy of any power metal band.

Needless to say, this album is killer. I can’t even pick favourite songs, because each one offers something completely different. Whether it’s in the gallop of ‘The Midnight Folk’, the dynamism of the eleven-minute title track, or the bombast of the instrumental finisher, ‘Heart of the Rose’, the vocals are strong, the drums are expressive, and the guitarwork is incredible.

Oak, Ash, & Thorn is excellent from start to finish. There’re plenty of highs, lows, and details (be it fills, countermelodies, or harmonies) so you can expect to get a hell of a lot out of it with consecutive listens. Showing nothing but endless variety and skill, Dark Forest continue to prove they’re worthy of knighthood.

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Heavy Metal: New Single From Canadian True Metallers Traveler

Calgary-based heavy metal firebrands Traveler are a month out from releasing their sophomore album, Termination Shock.

They’ve dropped another rifftastic single, ‘STK’, which continues to hold the bar high for the upcoming album.

Termination Shock is set to be released on 24 April under Gates of Hell Records. It’s only been a year since the band’s debut, so a similar freshness is sure to accompany this effort!

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Symphonic Metal: New ‘Noise’ From Nightwish

Symphonic metal titans Nightwish have released the first new single to their upcoming album. ‘Noise’ is quite obviously a commentary on modern society and, while I find it a touch pretentious, it’s a pretty good track.

Sorta reminds me how Imaginaerum would sound if it had Floor Jansen on vocals rather than Anette Olzon.

Oh, speaking of pretentious, the title of Nightwish’s ninth album is Hvman. :II: Natvre.. I’m not saying I’m not excited, because any new Nightwish release is worthy to me, but, come on. I can’t just ignore something like that.

01. Music
02. Noise
03. Shoemaker
04. Harvest
05. Pan
06. How’s the Heart?
07. Procession
08. Tribal
09. Endlessness

The album will be released on 10 April. If the rest of it sounds as good as this single, it’ll be a powerhouse!

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Melodic Metal: New Single From Dynazty

Swedish modern metallers Dynazty have dropped a new single from their upcoming album, The Dark Delight. ‘Presence of Mind’ follows the bands more recent albums, so we can likely expect an album of similar sound.

The Dark Delight will be Dynazty’s seventh album since their beginnings in 2007. While their music has explored a number of different styles, they have settled on modern melodic metal, as their previous three albums have supported.

No further details of The Dark Delight have been released yet, but you can expect to hear it on 4 April 2020!

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