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Arise From Thorns - Before an Audience of Stars

Arise From Thorns - CD Review

Before an Audience of Stars

CD Info

Dark Symphonies
14 Tracks
English lyrics

The reaction to Arise From Thorns always surprises me. I have been shocked to see even the most hardened, gristle-chewing thick-skulled black and death metal heads rave about this album. This is surprising, because it's not metal. It's not metal at all. Even if I strain my imagination and inventiveness to its most farfetched degree, I'm hard-pressed to call this anything but rock, and acoustic rock at that, so it's also surprising that AFT are on a label like Dark Symphonies. So, what's going on?

Well, the thing is, this is all acoustic, but it's acoustic in a way that appeals to metal fans probably more than fans of any other genre – even your Opeth fans like their acoustic passages. As well as that, I've never heard anyone bash into acoustic guitars with such aggression as AFT. Vocals are provided by Michelle Loose - and I could write an entire

review on her, but I won't bother for all our sakes, all I will say is that she's a good vocalist, but on this album she's got a little way to go before she becomes a great vocalist. She does have her moments, though - there are times when she sings in certain ways and hits certain notes and I feel like melting. When she sings well, she sings pretty damn well.

There's a lot of work in this album - I think fourteen tracks is a respectable amount, but they should have left out the live version of To Dance By Moonlight, because it doesn't come across particularly well, and it doesn't really do them any favors. There's very, very little distortion on this album - I think it's only in the one track, Time Alone, which is one of the best there. Other good points are Dreaming, Remember The Stars and Among The Leaves. But other songs, such as Bluer Skies, start off brilliantly and kind of collapse around the chorus – and Persia is, to be fair, one of the most annoying songs I've heard in a long time.

Nevertheless, the pros by far outweigh the cons for Arise From Thorns. The guitar solos here are quite good are well - none of your arpeggiating, crowd-pleasing metal solos here, just wonderfully atmospheric progressive guitar which I'm happy to 'rewind' and listen to a few times over before allowing the song to run it's course – especially on Lure, the guitar work is blinding.

After this album was released the band changed their name to Brave, to signify their 'growth' as musicians, which sounds like an awful thing to say, especially as Brave isn't a particularly great name. Therefore Before An Audience Of Stars seems to stand alone, and so it should because it has the strength to. This can be truly beautiful music at times, and if the black metallers as well as the progrock fans can come out of their shells to appreciate it, then it's more powerful than it first gives away.