Editor's Rating

Have a listen to: "Without Hands" and "Possession"

Rating out of 10

Stone Circle – A Forest Dark

Release Date: 31st May 2017
Bandcamp: https://stonecirclemetal.bandcamp.com/album/a-forest-dark

Brighton based quartet Stone Circle recently released their fifth record, which they recorded with Johnny Renshaw of Devil Sold His Soul. The new EP ‘A Forest Dark‘ is a concept album and has four tracks which each are based on stories from the Brothers Grimm.

Commenting on the decision to make a concept record, bassist James Pearce states: “We always try and have an underlying theme to our material; a narrative that lends to the creative process. The Brothers Grimm fairy-tales are universally popular and whilst a metal band booming about dark forests and monsters may be cliché, with everything else going on in the world, maybe looking at man’s darker side through the realm of fantasy is just what is needed”.

So what can you expect from ‘A Forest Dark‘? The EP has a Progressive Death Metal sound, which adds to the concept of the Brothers Grimm stories. The band’s sound is like if Morbid Angel, Opeth and Gojira had a baby. The aggressive vocals are constant, adding a dark side to the fantasy with heavy, crushing riffs and haunting melodies. The aggressive vocals break halfway through the songs to introduce some cleans.

As I mentioned earlier, each track narrates a different Brothers Grimm story. As stated on their Bandcamp the first track ‘Bones is about the tale ‘The Juniper Tree‘, where a wicked stepmother kills her step -son for selfish reasons, but vengeance is served in the end. The second track, ‘Without Hands is based on the tale The Girl Without Hands‘, a story of a father’s greed at the cost of his daughter’s hands. The third track Riddled is an instrumental and is based on The Riddle‘ where a prince challenges a princess to answer a riddle for his hand in marriage. The fourth and final track ‘Possession‘ is the story of Rumpelstiltskin‘, about a girl trapped in a tower who’s helped by a mysterious creature, but at a deadly cost.

Of the four, my standout track has to be ‘Without Hands‘; it’s an eight minute, creatively written track for reasons that I shall now explain. It has moments of Morbid Angel‘s traditional death metal style mixed with Opeth‘s haunting melodies, Mastodon‘s clean vocal style in between breaks in the songs and also Gojira’s bone-crushing style of metal riffs. To mix all these styles of metal into one song takes sheer talent and for Stone Circle to pull that off to tell the Brothers Grimm tales in their songs is just pure creativeness which I will take my hat off to.

Stone Circle have released an absolute banger of a fifth release with this EP, with so many styles of metal mixed into one. This band have been going for 13 years now and they’re one of many favourites of the underground scene in Brighton.

Check out the video for Possession‘ below:

For Fans Of: Opeth, Morbid Angel, Gojira

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