UK Traditional Metal band Dark Forest will celebrate its 20th anniversary with the September 30 release of new EP Ridge & Furrow. The EP will be released on CD, digital, and vinyl formats via Cruz Del Sur Music.
A lyric video for EP opener “Skylark” is available at:
The venerable Dark Forest returns with the five-song Ridge & Furrow EP that celebrates their immaculate history and sets the stage for future melodic metal triumphs!
The United Kingdom’s Dark Forest has followed a single guiding principle throughout their 20 years as a band: Create and play the music they enjoy. There are no delusions of grandeur, no scene ladder-climbing and no jumping on the latest trends. Dark Forest — founded and led by guitarist Christian Horton — has struck the subtle balance between following their creative whims and occasionally pushing the boundaries of their sound, which, over the course of a demo, three EPs and five long-players, have cemented their status as one of their home country’s finest purveyors of traditional metal. Now with their 20th anniversary upon them, Horton, along with vocalist Josh Winnard, second guitarist Patrick Jenkins and drummer Adam Sidaway, are bringing out the five-song Ridge & Furrow EP to ring in the occasion.
Recorded at Hellfire Studios in the Midlands of England with producer Ajeet Gill, Ridge & Furrow features four new Dark Forest songs and a re-recording of longtime fan favorite, “Under the Greenwood Tree.” The EP was created during Horton’s unexpected downtime during the global pandemic and represents a broad swath of Dark Forest’s sonic spectrum — the guitarist even sees it as a “condensed version” of a full-length that prompted the band to include a healthy variety of songs. Indeed Ridge & Furrow gathers and celebrates the band’s ever-present and deft use of melody, epic song construction and heroic, anthemic choruses. And, the re-recording of “Under the Greenwood Tree” (initially heard on 2011’s Dawn of Infinity) is the perfect nod to the band’s past — a brilliant summation of the spirit of Dark Forest that now features vocals from Winnard and guitar playing from Jenkins.
The Ridge & Furrow cover art was created by Horton, a direct throwback to the band’s early days when the guitarist was handling the task. There is a stylistic and compositional continuity between the Ridge & Furrow art and the band’s 2009 self-titled debut album. Since the EP’s lyrical themes center around nature and landscape — namely how the land can speak and provide insights and clarity for a person’s inner-life — Horton created the artwork based on an inner landscape depicted as fields, hills, foliage and standing stones that also hold symbolic meaning for him.
But for Horton, Dark Forest’s 20th anniversary goes beyond Ridge & Furrow. It has prompted reflection on his love of metal and rock, which started at an early age with his parents’ Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin records. The discovery of Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden set him on a new path, with Maiden quickly becoming his favorite band and remaining as such to this day. They have served as the guide for Dark Forest as they navigated the U.K. underground scene, first by releasing the 2004 Succubus demo, then the Fear Dearg and Phantoms of the Sea EPs in 2007. Dark Forest eventually graduated to the stages of London, England, then to the European festival circuit, where, to the band’s surprise, they had fans waiting to sing their songs back to them. Ridge & Furrow commemorates it all while looking ahead to what is no doubt a bright future for Dark Forest.
2. The Golden Acre
3. Ridge & Furrow
5. Under the Greenwood tree