Black metal really is the most DIY-packed genre in metal. In no other sub-order of heavy metal can you find so many one-man bands. Is it really a band then? Skyforest is one such… constellation? No, that doesn’t work either. Anyway… From Russia comes B.M. who is behind all the aspects of this band. He’s a young fella who is seemingly very creative. He has his hands in several other groups, most of which lists himself as the sole member, doing everything.
Skyforest falls within the atmospheric black metal category, and contains all the elements you expect from such. Howling vocals on top of a velvety cushion of symphonic elements, mid-paced and captivating.
I have the remastered version of the album at hand. The original was released in 2014, and the new version became available in 2017. The line-up for the album looks like this:
- B.M. (composing, guitars, synths, mixing, mastering)
- Tim/Sorrow (drums, vocals, lyrics)
- Eija Risen (additional composing on “Aftermath” and “Ascension”)
- Julia H. (additional vocals on” Together In Death”).
The 2014 version featured a different cover.
On the Bandcamp page it says: “Lyrically, the album is about unity with nature and unity with yourself.” Line-up for the album:
- B.M. (composing, guitar, bass, drums, lyrics, harsh vocals, clean vocals on “Fading Glow”, other vocals (whisper, speech), other instruments (shaker, naruko clappers), various programming, mixing, mastering)
- Michael Rumple (clean vocals on all songs, except “A Graceful Spirit” and “Fading Glow”)
- Robert Bekić (tin-whistle on “Autumnal Embrace”)
Let’s compare the two albums, piece by piece, in a versus battle.
The drums might be slightly better produced on Aftermath, but they are better conceived on Unity.
Unity takes this, but it only by a close margin. On Aftermath the bass is more in the background, while on Unity it is really audible and adds some extra flavor to the songs.
The distorted guitars are rawer and louder on Aftermath. On Unity they are more ambient and almost disappear completely at times. The use of acoustic guitars are great on both albums.
The symphonic elements on Aftermath are like the little brother to the adult Unity. They are very well composed on both albums, but they really blossom on the latter platter. Everything is bigger. And with orchestrations, bigger is always better. Isn’t it?!
The vocals are the biggest winner in this list. The screams on Aftermath are a little bit too shrieky for my taste, and the cleans are not too good at all. A little awkward actually. Michael Rumple is a real star on Unity and I’m really liking what I have heard from his other projects as well at this point.
As with the orchestrations: everything is bigger on Unity. There are some really transcendent moments on the sophomore album and I actually bought the Aftermath album only as an afterthought because I had fallen so hard for Unity at the time.
- TBOJ score: Aftermath 4.0/5, Unity 4.5/5
- DR score: 10 (both)
You really need to go check both these records out. B.M. is even generous enough to give out them both free of charge on the Bandcamp page when he has free tickets left. But even so, the rest of the time the albums are just $1 USD!