“Beyond The Veil”

By Dr. Abner Mality

If Robin Hood and his Merrymen had a favorite metal band, I’m sure it would be England’s Dark Forest. Their leafy green power metal is the perfect accompaniment to scurrying through Sherwood Forest and robbing the Norman scoundrels. There is much of Merry Olde England in this band’s music and if you are attuned to songs of yore, this should appeal.

“Beyond the Veil” is a mixed bag for this here Yank. It Is well played, tuneful and heartfelt, but at more than 70 minutes, it’s too long by half. And many of the songs sound very close to each other, causing them to run together in the mind’s eye. The vocals of Mr. Josh Winnard are pleasant to the ear and quintessentially British, but they could occasionally use more oomph and dynamics. As it is, he is very much the “Will Scarlet” of Dark Forest, a heavy metal bard.

This album is very smoothly played. The galloping pace of Iron Maiden is readily apparent in “On The Edge of Twilight”, but there’s also a regal feeling of early Hammerfall. And the medieval folksiness of old England is also soaked into the bones of Dark Forest.When they are at their best, like “Blackthorn” and the lusty title track, they are fun to listen to. But “Earthbound”, “The Undying Flame” and the 13 minute plus “Lore of the Land” wander upon the dusty tracks like a tipsy minstrel.

Dark Forest undoubtedly worked long and hard on “Beyond the Veil” and it shows, but they have not yet reached their ultimate destination.