Mystic Forest - _Welcome Back in the Forest_
(Oaken Shield / Adipocere, 2001)
by: David Rocher (3 out of 10)
Mystic Forest's second release is the archetype of a "progressive" black metal release that, despite being touched by the grace of a very technical and swift (and alas rather uninspired) guitarist, has over and above anything else been paid a grim visit by a very angered and pissed off fuck-up fairy. _Welcome Back in the Forest_ indeed features quite impressive guitar leads and more-intricate-than-average drum machine programming, but also some of the most direly unoriginal song structures and excruciatingly boring riffs I've ever heard -- and, first and foremost, a dramatically dissonant, saturated and, put quite bluntly, downright gruesome sound. I've heard countless black metal releases with a rather disputable production (and that's euphemistic indeed), but Mystic Forest have blended something into their mix that makes this release sound as though your CD player has suddenly set itself to "stun" and is currently busy settling a heated argument with your amplifier. Indeed, whilst on the slower, more gothic influenced segues, the cymbals just sound like an irritating, over-saturated cacophony that more or less ruins the music, the blasting onslaughts are nothing but rampaging binary mauling sessions featuring an overwhelmingly loud percussive mess, thus leaving nothing but the occasional squeaky guitar note to graze the surface of your tympanum. The other bleak note to this sad tale is that despite their undisputable technical proficiency, Mystic Forest's guitarist and keyboard player obviously don't have much to say when it comes to writing an ear-catching song; this alone would have made _Welcome Back in the Forest_ dull and ultimately rather uninspiring, but when added to the horrible production on this release, this failure to recapture the genial inspiration of their classical masters (Chopin and Beethoven being very modestly quoted as sources of inspiration) shall merely inspire even the most enduring of black metal fans to reach for comparatively some sweet-sounding Darkthrone.

(article published 3/7/2002)

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