Spell Forest - _Lucifer Rex II - Celebrare a Furvum Luna in Martis_
(Independent, 2007)
by: Chaim Drishner (9 out of 10)
Spell Forest is like Dark Funeral, only much, much better. What I mean is that the band shares this slight (arguably, a lot of that) infantile, stern, avid and fascinating affinity to Satanism in its most earthly, immediate and benign incarnations; a literal bad guy with horns, pointed tail and goat-like face and a very, very bad temper.

Being both Brazilian as well as all members (or at least three of the lot) participating in the great mystical doom/death act Mythological Cold Towers, inherently lends the musicians an aura of excellence and ability -- but also general poor knowledge and mastering of the English language, on a side note. However, what the band lacks in one quality, it compensates on many others, big time.

In fact, this is one of the very few occasions a musical output so heavy on intra-genre clich├ęs (the corpsepaint, lyrical themes, cover art, et cetera) has really stood to its silent promise and delivered. Delivered one of the most beautiful melodic-yet-chaotic, somber and grandiose performances in the history of modern black metal. Just listen to those searing, minimal-yet-engaging keyboard strokes; listen to how the band composes its unique, gentle yet malignant black musical art; so thick the textures, so profound the plot.

Albeit sounding slightly derivative on initial listens, the long, serpentine and schizophrenic tunes take the listener on a ghost-ride with erratically changing sceneries, moods, velocities and structures. Adhering to an orchestral, all-encompassing approach to music (almost touching neo-classicism), Spell Forest uses basic heavy metal tunes, onto which scaffold the band constructs and applies ornaments of melancholy, sadness and darkness in the form of the aforementioned lush and sinister keyboards and bestial, slightly-processed vocals (which are neither too tamed nor over-the-top outrageously humoristic, which is the case for many a black metal act who try too hard to sound ominous but eventually become their own sad joke).

The generally slow-to-mid pace flacked with outbursts of blasts done right; the emphasis on real melodies, long, rich and emotional; the flirtation with doom metal, classic heavy metal and those simple yet so very effective oceans of guitar riffing and even the somewhat cheesy solos; these very (allegedly) obvious elements -- created, glued together and perfected by crafty hands -- make _Lucifer Rex II - Celebrare a Furvum Luna in Martis_ the fine work of art it really is, ultimately and in close inspection.

Kudos for Spell Forest (the band claims its moniker should be really Spellforest in one word, but due to the fact both CD and the metal archives mention the band as being Spell Forest and because there is already another -- and I'm sure much less worthy -- band from South America by the name of Spellforest, I have chosen to leave the band's name as being two-worded) for writing, recording, releasing and distributing this excellence all by itself, which is as great an achievement as is the sheer darkened and intricate beauty captured on _Lucifer Rex II_. Highly, deeply, wholeheartedly recommended. One of the best black metal outputs in the year 2007 that your humble servant has listened to; really listened to...

P.S.: Courtesy of my being acquainted to the above mentioned album, I have obtained Spell Forest's previous work _Lucifer Rex_ (Goat Music, 2005), which is as spectacular as _Lucifer Rex II_ and at least as recommended.

[Quentin Kalis: "Spell Forest's latest full-length is endowed with the usual black metal accoutrements of sloppy performance, dubious production values, vicious snarls and tremolo riffs providing a melodic edge, but their OTTahs been recorded at an unnecessarily high volume and two ten minute monsters at the beginning is incongruous with the shorter numbers that follow. Overall, an acceptable but unremarkable entrant to the black metal universe."]

Contact: http://www.spellforest.com/

(article published 6/4/2008)

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