"The Awakening"

By Colonel Angus

Not a day goes by that I’m not introduced to a new band, whether it is a friend offering up a listen to a new CD or I’m getting a request to review a disk.  One thing is for sure, we are either living in the golden age of music or its decline.  Technology has made it easier for bands to create music without breaking the bank with expensive studio costs, artwork, etc.  This is a good thing because musicians are able to get their music to the people without much overhead.  The bad part is, there is less quality control in what goes out there.  Granted, music is very subjective and what I like, others will dislike, and vice versa.  My main point for this is that a band like Dark Forest has a lot going for it but it may need some help along the way to get their songwriting to the next level.  I have not heard their previous material so I can’t comment on whether they are progressing or not but on "The Awakening", they have all the right pieces, they just need to “kick it up a notch” in the songwriting category.  There are a few really great tunes on offer like “Turning Of The Tides”, “Sons Of England” and the title track.  My biggest complaint is there is not enough variety in the material.  Many of the other track have a similar sound/style/tempo which makes it all blend together without making the individual cuts stand out from one another.

Well, enough of the negative.  On a positive note, if you are a fan of Thin Lizzy and Iron Maiden, you’ll love these guys.  Some songs have more Lizzy elements while others definitely have a more Maiden feel.  The guitarists Christian Horton and new addition Pat Jenkins play off one another in that classic Lizzy/Maiden style.  The dual guitar sound is definitely a highlight on "The Awakening".  The other highlight is the vocal performance of Josh Winnard.  He has a great voice that works perfectly with this type of metal.  Paul Thompson and Adam Sidaway are good at holding down the rhythm for the others to build upon.  Each of these guys puts in a great performance but I just wish the songs were better.  If the whole record consisted of tunes like the ones mentioned above, I would be recommending this with highest ratings.  I believe (make that hope) that with some time and help, these guys will produce their “classic” record.  They have the potential but "The Awakening" falls a bit short for me.  MVD is making this available here in the States and while it may not resonate completely with me, I think there is enough there to make the Thin Lizzy and Iron Maiden fans out there look into Dark Forest.