Having enjoyed their previous album, I was intrigued as to what this one would sound like. I previously praised the production for being good and the fact that you could hear everything. I’m pleased to report that it has carried forward into this album. You can once again no only hear everything, but also pick out the melodies. This album also seems to fit better together, it sounds a lot more professional than the previous. That’s not to say the production on the last was bad, it was great. But this album just sounds so much more fluid and strong.
Starting with the track “Breath of Life” it opens with a clean guitar chord and a spaced out drone with overdriven guitars fading in. Keeping a sort of drone like sound for the rest of the track it creates an air of suspense, not giving away anything about the album.
Leading expertly into “The First Fire”, a clean and reverberant guitar riff enters above the drone before the rest of the instruments come in at 0:33. Keeping the same suspense as the first track, it keeps a slow pace throughout. A building section comes in around 3:21, bringing in slight overdriven guitars before fading back into clean melodies. Keeping the building drums, the overdriven guitars come back, all be it with very soft distortion before coming in with full force about 1:31 before the end. Fading out into a organ style drone, the song makes for an enjoyable listen.
“Barren Lands of the Modern Dinosaur” then plays and like the last track opens with a calm clean guitar riff. Panning cymbals left to right before bringing in the whole kit and bringing in a guitar harmony, it continues with a more relaxed kind of atmosphere. Fading to just one guitar around 1:51, it then brings in a reverberant kit before distorted guitars and the bass make a return. It’s definitely a stand out track for me on the album.
The featured track of the album, “They Speak With Knives” comes in with a simplistic drum pattern before bringing in a clean and reverberant guitar and a building bass guitar lick. The drums then transition to a kind of jazz style beat whilst a drone like guitar fades in and out with a counter melody, before the overdriven guitars come in and the drums kick up a gear with a double kick pattern. This last for a few seconds before changing back into the previous, and then changing again. A singular guitar then comes in after the chaos, with another fading in and out on the left side. It then fades with the wind style drone that was heard on the previous album. This track is probably my favorite from the album; it’s just been really well put together.
The wind drone continues into the shortest track on the album, and a train station announcement style voice is then heard. It’s a stark contrast from the other tracks on the album and makes for a nice interlude to the album.
“Red Forest” then comes in with an overdriven guitar riff before opening into the usual overdriven chaos that’s been heard previously. A mixture of clean and overdriven guitars come in at 1:06 and create a feeling of despair and sadness. That’s not to say it’s a sad track, it just has an overall darker feel to it. Being the second longest track on the album, it’s one of the most creative and features numerous different harmony variations of the same basic section. It’s certainly a standout track for me as it’s a little bit different from the rest of the tracks.
“Aleutian Clouds” opens with the usual reverberant clean guitar, only with a small cymbal pattern before bringing in the full kit, bass and guitar harmonies of the original melody. The distorted guitars come in around 1:09, playing the same melodies but making them feel much more desperate. The overall feel of the song is a mixture of happiness and sadness, with the clean guitars reflecting the happiness and the distorted ones reflecting the sadness. It’s completely different to the previous track, but a good listen overall.
Opening with a guitar being picked and the clean guitar is the song “Left to Rust and Rot”. The picked guitar then changes into a high-pitched counter melody, before changing into a distorted counter-melody similar to that heard in other songs on the album. About 1:32 into the track, the other guitar comes in with another clean counter-melody before changing into a distorted guitar along with the other. This song is like the others on the album, a joy to listen to and technically masterful.
The longest and final track on the album, “When the Big Hand Buries the Twelve” then plays. Opening with the wind drone again, it then brings in multiple strange noises before one the guitars and the drums come in around 0:28. Gradually bringing in the other instruments it creates a sad atmosphere, much like the title track. It’s a little darker though, with the distorted guitars all playing different melodies and frequently fading in and out to clean sections. It provides a suitable end to the interesting and enjoyable album.
In comparison with the previous album, it definitely feels a more polished product. The previous album was still amazing, but it doesn’t feel as tight or as well rounded as this one. The production on this one also feels crisper, yet you can still hear everything.
As with the last one, I recommend it to fans of instrumental metal and the more experimental side of metal/hard rock.
- Breath of Life
- The First Fire
- Barren Lands of the Modern Dinosaur
- They Speak with Knives
- The Gift of Two Rivers
- Red Forest
- Aletuian Clouds
- Left to Rust and Rot
- When the Big Hand Buries the Twelve
Red Forest is released on January 27th, 2015 through Metal Blade.