Venerable British true metallers DARK FOREST return with nine songs of epic metal heroics and monumental storytelling on Oak, Ash & Thorn. The album will be released on CD, Vinyl, and Digital formats April 24 on Cruz Del Sur Music. New song “The Midnight Folk” can be seen below.
With their first studio offering in four years, DARK FOREST marries traditional metal glory with tales from the heart of England’s long and storied past.
DARK FOREST founding member, guitarist and songwriter Christian Horton was halfway through the creation of the band’s fifth studio album when he came across a copy of Rudyard Kipling’s 1906 fantasy, Puck of Pook’s Hill. The book is a powerful depiction of England’s history, told through the lens of the people who have helped shape the country through the ages. The book’s crucial element of magic and folklore made an instant connection with Horton — DARK FOREST has long delved into such topics, and the leaves of the three sacred trees of England, Oak, Ash & Thorn, made it the ideal choice for the album’s title. The album, perhaps more so than any other DARK FOREST studio effort, properly expresses the band’s deep connection to the past, as well as the theme of the perpetual outsider, reflecting the course the band has charted since their 2002 formation.
Recorded in August 2019 at Hellfire Studios near Burton Upon Trent, Oak, Ash & Thorn is DARK FOREST’s most concise and solid offering to date, all without sacrificing the inherently epic nature of their songs. The band’s trademark flank of guitar melodies carries forth with renewed spirit and vigor, while vocalist Josh Winnard confidently sings emotive, passionate choruses capable of rousing the hearts of all who listen.
The album’s creation was labor-intensive — the members of DARK FOREST (who is rounded out by second guitarist Patrick Jenkins and drummer Adam Sidaway) tackled the recording between two separate sessions, sometimes working 14-hour days where it wasn’t uncommon for the band to burn the creative midnight oil, only to start all over again the next day. And for the second consecutive album, DARK FOREST teamed with legendary artist Duncan Storr for the album’s cover. The original idea for Oak, Ash & Thorn’s cover was to be focused on the idea of the hollow hill and the traditional dwelling places of the fairies, but after Horton shared the themes of Puck of Pook’s Hill with Storr, the cover reflected three main spirits reflecting three distinct eras of England’s history.
While this is the longest stretch between studio albums for DARK FOREST, the amount of time and effort put into Oak, Ash & Thorn is undeniable — it is an undoubtedly robust and captivating listen from beginning to end, filled with tales from the heart of England’s long and storied history.
Oak, Ash & Thorn track listing:
- Wayfarer’s Eve
- The Midnight Folk
- Avalon Rising
- Oak, Ash & Thorn
- The Woodlander
- Eadric’s Return
- Heart of the Rose