Review: Forest Swords – Engravings

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Earth Mysteries abound. On the Wirral, Merseyside there is a demolished Churchyard that was part of a now nonexistent village once named Overchurch. While nothing of Overchurch seems to remain in what is left of the old graveyard lays the Overchurch Rune Stone which dates back to Anglo Saxon times.

Engravings feels as though it has been hewn from a slab of ancient rock such as the Rune Stone. Deep, dark and unpredictable music created by Matthew Barnes (aka Forest Swords) who has been hidden away somewhere on the Wirral tuning in to the land and letting his creative spirit flow free.

This is no “New Age” influenced chill out vibe. Dubstep beats slip and slide around providing an unsettling platform for Barnes’ DJ skill to flourish. Like Turner or Constable, his brushes pick sounds and moments from his palette of loops, beats, samples, guitar and piano to illuminate the canvas.

Take the opener ‘Ljoss’ for example. Driven by a tribal marching beat and heavy dubby bass, the sense of space is immediate. A guitar riff rings through a ghostly echoed voice – listen up folks, it’s easy to miss the static.
Magic.
‘Thors Stone’ is equally impressive, loping along like a prowling wolf… and are those some kind of Druidic Chants coming through, I hear you say?
The rather bleak and ethereal tone is set for the album and the hypnotic beats and unexpected twists and turns continue to keep you engaged in ‘Weight of Gold’ I swear I picked out the riff from ‘Voodoo Child’ on what sounds like a demented harpsichord. ‘The Plumes’ is ghost like with some kind of Shamanic voice weaving through the mix before the abrupt end. This is some seriously amazing stuff.

The real genius of this record is in the sense of flow. The whole affair is atmospheric, emotional even, and though the album is completely modern you never feel far away from something ancient.

Listening to Engravings is like having runes carved into your consciousness.

2010 saw the release of the Dagger Paths EP. I must have been washing my hair cos’ I missed it but I am overjoyed to discover this gem.
Listen with pleasure.
Words: Keefyh

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