Forest Swords – Engravings
From its opening notes, Forest Swords' debut album – after 2010's well-received mini, Dagger Paths – is an understated and hauntingly beautiful experience. Combining guitar, drums, field recordings and delicately sampled and treated vocals, it is a perfect fit for groundbreaking NYC label Tri Angle, who brought you the likes of Holy Other, Haxan Cloak and Evian Christ.
More pastoral and natural in feel than these artists, Liverpool-based Forest Swords has more in common with an earlier Tri Angle artist, Balam Acab – his music evokes the countryside of his native Wirral, with titles such as Thor's Stone referencing the psychogeographical history of the region, engaging with its Norse and pagan history. With traces of hip-hop, folk and shoegaze in its musical DNA, the album pulls off that very Tri Angle trick of referencing populist musical forms while journeying in spectral, undiscovered sonic realms. [Bram E. Gieben]