Review Summary: A Forest of Stars has created an absolutely brilliant concept album. They took something as simple as a creation story and turned it into a masterpiece of epic proportions. Across the one hour span of the music, I was literally enraptured by the sound s
There is naught but darkness. Slowly, a voice begins to tear through the blackness of the void. It is the keening of an angry deity, whose imprisonment in this endless abyss has driven him to the brink of insanity. His voice is a personification of pain; he cries for the light that he had once experienced in some long-forgotten existence.
God (Length: 16:27) - The first track of the album opens with a few, slow electric guitar chords. As the tune cuts out, a tambourine and a violin take its place. The God gives birth to a small, barren garden where the it begins to walk. The tambourine falls away and is replaced again by the guitar's melancholy whisperings. A great tree's roots rise from the dry earth and plant themselves a base. A set of drums rises to meet the other instruments. The plodding rhythm of the cymbals and snare illustrate the tree's growth as it begins to reach toward the sky. The great Spirit, voiced by screeching vocals, howls against his fetters, urging the tree to rise. The vocals, drums and guitar hit a crescendo, heralding the birth of the Tree of Life. But there is no time to marvel at this, for creation is afoot. A flute joins the euphony and the God watches the Tree of Knowledge breach the ground, intertwining with its brother. A plethora of vegetation appears to surround the Two, marking the creation of Eden. The track ends with screeches, echoing off into the nothingness that still surrounds the garden. (Rating: 5/5)
Female (Length: 13:57) - Creation of the inanimate and unthinking comes easily. This new environment calls for life in all its variety and mystery. The second track starts with a few piano notes before a violin rises to their side. They dissipate, immediately being replaced by a drum, electric guitar, and startling cries of the drained God. A muddled mass of clay rises at the foot of the Life tree. The violin returns. The clay begins to stretch and writhe beneath the orchestra, taking humanoid form. The morphing figure gains the features of a woman as the instruments halt. This newly-crafted being sits up and looks around through an atmospheric haze. The vocals reawaken in a fury, commanding her to explore the garden. Her journey is orchestrated by two raging guitars and a pulse-pounding drum display; the screams echo randomly throughout the chaos. (Rating: 4/5)
Male (Length: 13:04) - Multiple stories must now be told. Whilst the woman's experiences take place (sonically captured by a drum and bass guitar ballad mixed with eerie female vocals), the God is busy again, creating a man to coexist with her (represented by disturbing screams over a stomach-churning electric guitar). As the music begins to meld together, the two entities the God has made finally see one another. All noise falls away except an enigmatic pair: an acoustic and bass guitar play solemnly as the two approach each other. All the instruments come together again with the addition of a violin and the God's screams; they clasp hands and frolic about. This song is truly a masterpiece. (Rating: 5/5)
Earth and Matter (Length: 9:41) - Making two beings is an accomplishment, indeed, but the Great Spirit's work is not over. The great spectacle of the Earth's creation is brought to life by a beautiful combination of electric guitar and tribal drumbeats. The cascade of sounds summon forth a world filled with animals and lush environments springing about in the ecstasy of their first few breaths. With each thrust of his enormous hands, the God crafts endless life. A beautiful violin solo plays as the two humans sit atop a hill, watching. (Rating: 5/5)
Microcosm (Length: 10:27) - Our world now exists, and is populated by boundless amounts of life. The two humans run through the jungles and deserts of this new land while the God stands above his incredible planet, smiling. This song adds nothing new to the overall sound developed on the album. Instead, it combines every element already explored to create a humbling display of the band's prowess. Unfortunately, this also means that it's the most eclectic track on the album, which detracts from its score. (Rating: 4/5)
+ The orchestration is top notch; all the instruments are extremely clear.
+ A perfectly planned concept album.
+ Uses a unique variety of instruments.
+ Always throwing new ideas at the listener.
- Screamed vocals (might be a pro for some).
- Long song lengths / people might lose interest.