Released in September of 2018, UK black metal band A Forest of Stars has conjured up an album that speaks of a delirium that courses through a man’s mind, those that are the vultures and those that are the carrion, and the ashtray that is this Earth. “Grave Mounds And Grave Mistakes” consists of lyrics that read as though they were bled from pages ripped from the spine of an 1800’s poem book. The members of A Forest of Stars used these inky blots to formulate eight songs that are all exceedingly theatrical and threaded thickly with imagery of rot, decay, and ‘awaiting our chance to populate holes in the ground.’
Each song skilfully works with dynamics, allowing tension and anxiety to subside with tenderly plucked orchestral sections, only to have that quietude be heaved away by vocals that dance upon the edge of madness and heavy instrumentals that spiral into tenebrous soundscapes. These songs allow you to hear the static that crackled within a crazed man’s mind, feel the beat of a haggard heart riding shotgun in a hijacked hearse, and imagine the shadowy shapes that are thrown up onto the walls and strewn across the concrete. They’re a painting of an expiring landscape that grows darker and darker with each brushstroke until the paints pool into a nondescript colour, ‘leached of sense and purpose.’
The female vocalist that is weaved into a few songs provided a pleasant contrast to the lead singer’s heavier, more deranged vocals, and the additional textured layers of violin, flute, and piano helped to build upon the already luxuriant guitar and drum parts that fill out the album. Overall, an amusing and balanced record.
“Grave Mounds And Grave Mistakes” is an album best listened to in one sitting. It’s a story, after all. Highly recommended If you wish to find yourself ‘amongst the filth and roots and sashaying worms’, then “Grave Mounds And Grave Mistakes” is the album that should accompany you.
If you are to only sample a song or two from this album, I highly suggest track three “Tombward Bound” and four “Premature Invocation“.
Rating – 4/5.
Bury thyself below!