Surprise! Slip into this Dark Forest and what you will find is some driving Viking, or maybe more appropriately folk metal.
This is a metal album which is deeply-themed, which of course is at the heart of sub genres such as Viking and folk metal. The songs are all inter-connected, telling a story which is added to be each successive song.
What makes Dark Forest immediately interesting is the fact the band hails from Calgary. It seems most bands focusing on this style of dark metal saga hail from Europe, but Dark Forest boldly goes there and they do a solid job.
Musically, I love this stuff. To me this is the symphony of today's younger generation. Yep, it's driving metal, but there is a full orchestral feel to the music that is compelling. The instrumental Two Ravens Soaring which is the final cut on this CD exemplifies the sound the most. Truly moving. I love the haunting use of the sound of wind that you just know is sweeping over a snow-covered land.
What is truly amazing about this CD is that Dark Forest is a one-man effort. David Parks supplies the guitars, keyboards drum programming, mouth harp and vocals. It's a rather Herculean effort when you listen to the finished product.
The songs were written over only an eight month period as well, again by Parks, who self-recorded the CD too.
By now you are catching on that this is very much a labour of love for the musician.
Now since this CD holds its parentage to Viking metal, the vocals are growled and screamed into the microphone. I'd take a purely instrumental version myself, although that is personal taste.
The lyrics actually have an ode'ic feel, and are full of unique visions, that again hearken to the great sagas of old. And, to Parks credit, even with the growl, he let's you hear most of the lyrics pretty clearly, a definite bonus in this genre. It will be interesting to see where Parks goes next with the style.
This is a pretty good example of what this type of metal can offer. Well worth a listen.
Check it out at www.darkforest.ca
-- CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper Oct 3, 2007 - Yorkton, SK. Canada