Vera : A Forest Of Stars, masters in the rhetoric approach of the Victorian era, are coming with their fifth studio album ‘Grave Mounds And Grave Mistakes’. The English septet does it again with grand dedication, with decadent highfaluting excesses and immense talent. For the undersigned, predecessor ’Beware The Sword You Cannot See’ ended up at the top position of the year 2015. It speaks for itself that we have cautiously taken the time to dive into this new disc to be well prepared for this musical adventure.
Initially, getting to know an album of this Gentlemen’s Club is always a kind of search for all the pieces of the puzzle. And you can bet, the last piece disappeared. That happens to be the ravishing mysticism of the band, the refined art of infiltrating black metal with violin, soaring keyboards and Shakespeare alike elocutionary brilliance. This time the band was inspired by William Blake’s proverb of hell, with ‘exuberance is beauty’ as slogan. Consequently the vocal parts are even more intense, since it appears to be a struggle against insanity. Yet there are enough atmospheric fragments – always of incredible beauty – so that it results in a well-thought balance of extreme outbursts and caressing peacefulness. The quiescent intro ‘Persistence Is All’ is followed by seven very long compositions with loads of variegation. It would lead us too far when describing every song in detail, but ‘Precipice Pirouette’ is a fine blueprint. We obviously have the typical, sometimes hysterical chants of Mister Curse, but violin in the back already sublimates this. A solemn fragment with acoustic guitars and violin brings solace, very beautiful and relished with momentous spoken words. Towards the end, the black metal art takes it over with tremolo guitars going in crescendo with addictive cadences. The songs fluently follow each other, ornamented with many magical twists and turns. After the scorching, heavy ‘Children Of The Night Soil’, we bath in a sea of melancholic beauty when female singer Katheryne, QofG does lead vocals in ‘Taken By The Sea’, with sober support of piano and violin. A soaring, atmospheric song, illustrating the quiescent element in the music. Also the occluding track ‘Decomposing Deity Dancehall’ remains rather calm, but the other lengthy tracks demand a lot of devotion from the listener to be fathomed. Well, that’s exactly the uniqueness and astonishing part of A Forest Of Stars. After numerous spins, you will start to see the wood for the trees and you will be welcomed by a forest of stars with transcendental brilliance.