Forest Stream
The Crown of Winter

Years back, most who where lucky enough to hunt this band down regarded their first record, Tears of Mortal Solitude, as an obscure gem. Best described as Opeth-like, this band mixed dreary doom with a blackened atmosphere that really held something esoteric. I was ecstatic, to say the least, when I heard they were releasing a new album. Though, The Crown of Winter isn’t exactly what I expected from this Russian act, it still holds some enjoyable material that should excite melodic doom fans.

The main issue is the band sounds more like Opeth now than ever, sometimes too much. Compared to what Tears of Mortal Solitude delivered, this record is somewhat predictable. However, I should calm my underground radical views because this record is really pretty good and fans of mystical extreme metal should check this out.

Forest Stream always relied heavily on keyboards to create a gray and damp atmosphere. That is still present and it is one of the main reasons this band can set their sound apart. Take opener “The Crown of Winter,” with its somber and mystical intro. The cold Winter-like atmosphere this creates continues throughout. The bands name couldn’t be more proper because their signature atmosphere makes you think of a cold damp forest.

As I said before this record is different than their debut in many ways. Clean vocals are one thing, interchanged with deep death/doom bellows. Another thing is the furious symphonic black metal that can be heard (“Bless You to Die”, and “The Seventh Symphony of Satan”) very reminiscent of Dimmu Borgir. For a band that used to portray nature in a beautiful depressing way, the evil black metal thing doesn’t seem right.

It is great to see Forest Stream back in action, but this isn’t the gem their first record was. Unfortunately, it pains me to say the band needs some work. Sounding this much like Opeth and Dimmu isn’t going to cut it. Interesting stuff, but I’d recommend taking a glance at their first record.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Shane Wolfensberger
July 24th, 2009

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