A Forest of Stars A Shadowplay for Yesterdays

A Forest of StarsA Shadowplay for Yesterdays
Based in Leeds in the UK, progressive black metal band A Forest of Stars refer to themselves as a "gentlemen's club" in an attempt to evoke the sinister, cultish identity of many such quasi-mystical groups at the turn of the 1900s. Their third full-length, A Shadowplay for Yesterdays, is a schizophrenic amalgamation of elements of experimental black metal, progressive rock and a hint of towering British doom. The tone is thick and hazy, evoking a Victorian parlour whose air is thick with sickly sweet opium smoke. The music has a bacchanalian, indulgent quality, druggy and indolent even at its quickest and most urgent moment, like the pulsing "Left Behind as Static." While the backing vocals, especially those provided by flautist and violinist Katheryne, have a similarly sweet and smoky quality, Mister Curse's lead vocals are much more anguished, his wrung-out cries contrasting the dense, smothering drapery of the rest of the sound. It's easy to get lost in A Shadowplay for Yesterdays, but once the trip wears off, it doesn't have any staying power. It leaves the listener feeling as if they showed up to a séance or mystical rite hoping for a genuine spiritual revelation and found themselves at a magic-themed, sexy party ― fun and trippy, but not life-altering. (Prophecy)