text: Oscar Wendt
Forest of Silence
November 28th, 2016
Astral Winter is an Australian project of Josh Young with already two radically different albums in the discography. Starting off with the very cold and really atmospheric black metal on Winter Enthroned, Josh has also released Perdition in 2013 – devoid of metal album featuring beautiful piano and acoustic melodies which couldn’t possibly make you think of Australia. With the turn of 2016, Astral Winter is now disclosing the third creation – Forest of Silence, available through Immortal Frost Productions.
Howling winds, steps marching through the snow, the feeling of the utter coldness – it certainly cannot be Australia! After less than two minutes with Forest of Silence, it’s clear – we’re talking about black metal again! This interesting and nicely building up intro is a fantastic beginning giving me a feeling that this will be a good album. As soon as the first blast kicks in, you get the proper goose bumps. I must say that this is one of the most interesting starts I’ve heard in ages. Anyway, does the album manage to keep its engaging character?
Hellyeah, it does! Seven songs, seven hymns of winter! Forest of Silence is a collection of greatly manufactured tracks, each telling a story, a tale of Astral Winter. Josh’s approach to music is clear and understandable and it’s great to observe such a versatile musicianship. Forest of Silence is loaded with emotions transferred through to the listener with powerful vocals and epic song structures.
Very rhythmic and quite strong in sound keyboards are definitely one of the Astral Winter’s trademarks and this is also something you realize straight away. I absolutely adore those piano overtones in the middle of songs which are sort of breathing spaces on the Forest of Silence. With those kind of records, the problem often is that all these ‘soft‘ additions sound imposing and simply unnecessary. With Forest of Silence it’s not the case at all! It’s great to hear that, even though they play a vital part of the album, they are served in such a way that a listener can only enjoy them. Also, the charismatic solo in As I Embrace the Winter Winds is outstanding and it’s perfectly united with some acoustic parts which are also very strong on Forest of Silence.
Forest of Silence is also an album that oscillates between melancholy and depression. Songs are constructed in such a way to keep you occupied all the time, provoking certain emotions and feelings. There is a lot going on and Forest of Silence is yet another album which cannot be ignored. As I always say, it’s better to record the bad album than a vague one. Forest of Silence is neither of them and, with its epic aura of winter, is a big step for Astral Winter.
My knowledge about the Australian metal scene is rather poor so it always make me really happy when I can discover such an interesting project from that part of the world. Astral Winter with its 3 really different albums is a really compelling project and I hope that Forest of Silence is the path that Josh will go with further releases as it simply works as a whole. Also, isn’t this a perfect time for such a cold album? Well, at least in Europe…