Skyforest
A New Dawn


4.0
excellent

Review

by Robert Garland CONTRIBUTOR (347 Reviews)
March 2nd, 2020 | 65 replies


Release Date: 02/20/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A Dawn Uplifting…

Often, black metal’s target audience pertains to the darker moods and emotions found within the human’s capacity to know such things. Sure, that’s vague… but hear me out. The contextual merits of hate, anguish, loss and despair that come with death or loss seem almost inescapable to most black metal artists, but Skyforest’s A New Dawn seems to stand against the usual stereotypes raised above. A New Dawn is a brightly coloured atmospheric black metal effort that does well to represent both the art on its cover and the very aesthetic that makes it (and other albums like it) viable moving well past 2020. Skyforest’s third studio full-length is awash with positivity and grace, moving from one soundscape of beautifully composed atmospheres to another of primal, yet completely “grand” black metal stereotypes. Skyforest’s newest offering is a fresh, uplifting face in a genre of normally darkened atmospheres. If (like me), you’ve been captivated by the last albums from Falls Of Rauros, Saor or Winterfylleth of last decade, Skyforest continue in the same vein without plagiarising these more prominent acts within the field.

It’s hard not to be swept up in the sonic landscape of “Along The Waves”. Tumultuous blast beats and ravaging tremolo meet a whirlwind of major notes in an atmospheric crescendo that’s as colourful as the artwork that represents Skyforest’s third full-length - and yet, A New Dawn defines a growing experience regardless of the listeners views on the sunswept musical hills that this particular black metal band’s warm motifs leaves. Somehow, A New Dawn is one of the decade’s more promising, hopeful and elevating efforts .The more cinematic tropes of “Along The Waves” may leave some listeners dissociated from the more current atmospheric black metal scene, but the track’s (and much of what follows) clearly tilted positivity is something not usually seen throughout (and clearly less orthodox) an industry of corpse paint and bands found “lost” in pine forests. Factually, Skyforest’s 2020 sound is vast and tinged with progressive moments, similar to Borknagar’s 2019 masterstroke True North. The likes of “The Night Is No More” builds in moments that hint at nuanced melancholy. Ringing notes dance in front of the lighter compositions, before being coupled with some varying black metal vocals that range from folk-laced croons, shrieks and whispers, as well as the genre’s typical penchant for tearing screams. Each vocal component adds to the album’s depth without slamming the listener with scream after scream. The melody found throughout A New Dawn’s bigger aesthetic picture is clearly the focus; something that benefits both the band and listener alike.

It could be said that Skyforest stick themselves to an idea of inspired, lightened gazey black metal - but that is exactly where the album both grows and stays with the listener. A New Dawn is less about the screams, blast beats and tremolo notes and more about drawing whoever is willing to take that fresh look into a scene of lush greens and yellows. While not completely original, the album moves into a dual clean male/female harmony within “The Night Is No More”. It’s refreshing, even as the track’s tasteful guitar solo cuts through the mix. Skyforest’s newest effort appeals to the black metal fan tired of the usual dreary stereotypes and offers something fresh in its place.

Despite the promise shown by the record as a whole, some moments blend into each other - crying out for a need to shift the atmosphere into the stereotypical darkness… if only for a moment. “Rebirth” is likewise enchanting in its composition, but is drawn back by the atmosphere that comes before it. These hiccups however are outweighed by A New Dawn’s ability to grow with the listener after multiple listens. The sum of all Skyforest’s parts may put their third studio effort in the realms of cheese-y black metal atmospherics that clings to stereotypes, but by grabbing hold of some more positive soundscapes (and the major scales that normally go with them), A New Dawn is an exciting grower when compared to the more contemporary acts, and largely innovative in the face of black metal angst because of that simple characteristic. Largely, there’s something to take away from this newest offering, a new dawn is coming.



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user ratings (59)
3.6
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
March 2nd 2020


12948 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nights like these you really learn to love your contrib bros.

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
March 2nd 2020


21990 Comments


m/m/m/m/m/

Sure that cover is pretty uplifting, damn.

Gonna check it tomorrow morning!

Great rev!

Digging: Emma Ruth Rundle and Thou - May Our Chambers Be Full

Pikazilla
March 2nd 2020


12977 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Wasn't impressed on the first listen, but I'll keep on trying I swear

Scheumke
March 2nd 2020


1888 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review bud, this sounds exactly for me.

Digging: DGM - Tragic Separation

TheNotrap
Contributing Reviewer
March 2nd 2020


15154 Comments


I'll check this colorful Russian black metal in the next couple of days.
Enjoyable reading, as usual.

Digging: Undeath - Lesions of a Different Kind

Scheumke
March 2nd 2020


1888 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Less proggy than Wilderun or Xanthochroid, less folky then Saor, but a nice mix of the rest these bands offer.

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
March 2nd 2020


27112 Comments


"Somehow, A New Dawn is one of the decade’s more promising, hopeful and elevating efforts."

Interesting statement to make 3 months into the decade, haha. I feel like I heard some of this but didn't care for it, so I will revisit.

Digging: Ariana Grande - positions

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
March 2nd 2020


12948 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sorry guys, guess I'll just have to go back to 1.5ing everything again.



--Interesting statement to make 3 months into the...--



Honestly, it felt like I could get away with that free pass.

bloc
March 3rd 2020


63739 Comments


This ain't Disneycore?

Digging: NECRY TALKIE - ZOO!!

Sevengill
March 3rd 2020


9872 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this and Belore are all I've been spinning lately

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
March 3rd 2020


21990 Comments


Checking this now! It sure brings the grandiosity. So much stuff going on.

SymbolicInTime
March 3rd 2020


6679 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is absolutely gorgeous all the way through

Digging: Minutemen - Double Nickels on the Dime

Sevengill
March 3rd 2020


9872 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

You are absolutely gorgeous all the way through

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
March 3rd 2020


12948 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

That's sweet.

SymbolicInTime
March 3rd 2020


6679 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

:D

JakeStallion
March 4th 2020


571 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Sounds incredibly up my alley. Love the cover art too! Stoked to give this a listen tomorrow.

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
March 4th 2020


12948 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Art is very Disney

Gyromania
March 4th 2020


30808 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Every time I see really cool album art I become very skeptical

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
March 4th 2020


12948 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

To what point,?

SuzyC
March 4th 2020


111 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

And of course, this is another one of those one-man projects. He (She? "B. M.") also produces music with 3 other projects: A Light in the Dark (keyboard-focused epic dreamy post-black), Hiki (electronics-infused instro-indie rock), and Blurry Lights (ambient neo-classical solo piano).



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