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Pale Forest - Of Machine and Men

Pale Forest - CD Review
Of Machine and Men

CD Info


Voices of Wonder

11 Tracks

English lyrics


Pale Forest seems to be one of those overlooked jewels in the female fronted world. I’ve only heard about them in the past year through sheer coincidence—they have actually been around for nearly ten years now. Though they are one of the more obscure bands in the female fronted world, their music actually suggests they should be the opposite! There are no underground or progressive sounds to be heard through this record. Pale Forest plays nice rock music with a touch of pop. This is actually their second album (though third release). So what does this album have to offer?

Of Machine and Men features some very nice vocals courtesy of lead singer, Kristin Fjellseth. Her voice sounds like a mix of Anneke of The Gathering and Sfinx of Ram-Zet, though pitched higher than either of those singers. Her voice is very beautiful and emotive throughout the album, if sounding a bit too twee at times. There are a very small amount of male vocals present on this album—they only sing a few lines in the whole album. They aren’t as good as Kristin’s vocals, though they certainly aren’t bad. The instruments are nice on the album—but just nice. I would have liked to see a little variation as well as experimentation present, though you can’t have everything can you?

The album starts out with two very good songs—"A Second Opinion" and "Part II". The former is a beautiful ballad just dripping with emotion, while the latter is a more upbeat song with great catchy melodies. These two songs in particular represent the album quite well. You have some slow emotive ballads on one hand, and some catchy upbeat songs on the other. Other highlights on this album include "Tristesse", "Sound of the Machine", "Mentally Deranged", and the wonderful "We Have Died".

Unfortunately, there are a couple songs that don’t really do it for me. "Prom Queen" sounds fine, but the lyrics sound a bit too whiney for my tastes: "see the wretched creature staring back at me/from the magic mirror on the wall/I see her pale and disfigured, how could it be/cause ugly is me." "Mooncycle" also boasts some questionable lyrics as well: "one two three four five six seven eight/don't you know it's all to, all to late/nine ten, lion's den, sell the hide, suicide/come with me, you will see/how it's all supposed to be." However, unlike "Prom Queen", I actually find the melody to be a bit too sing-songy for my tastes. "Redrum" and "Taller Yet Smaller" aren’t actually bad, but a bit bland.

All in all, this is quite a nice album. Sometimes it’s nice to hear some catchy rock songs to which you can relax—Of Machine and Men certainly fits this bill. I definitely recommend this album to all those who aren’t opposed to some pop in their rock.

7.5 / 10