While the debut release from FORNOST ARNOR showed great promise, “The Death of a Rose” proves with no uncertainty that the band is one of Britain’s most talented and professional young bands. Debut “Escaping the Abyss” was an impressive release; technically precise, emotionally stirring & confident among many outstanding qualities. However, “The Death of a Rose” takes the already successful FORNOST ARNOR formula to another level.
Whereas “Escaping the Abyss” tended to draw more upon outside inspiration & influences, “The Death of a Rose” sees the band begin to develop their own identity & sound further when it comes to technicality which is even more awe-inspiring on this release. Therefore the original influences are still detectable, but to slightly less of a degree and work more to compliment the overall sound. So yes, there are still obvious comparisons to bands such as OPETH and ENSLAVED to be made as the compositional style & progressive nature of FORNOST ARNOR does bear resemblance to these bands. The comparison to OPETH is still by far the most striking and in particular to their early material such as “Blackwater Park”. Though it would be fair to say that FORNOST ARNOR err more on the technical side of things as this element is what really stands out as a strength throughout “The Death of a Rose”. The band also experiment more with the use of clean vocals, both female and male which add a neo-classical edge at times. The female vocals are sung in an angelic, folky style and work well to create an atmosphere full of both beauty and lamentation. The clean male vocals are also more varied in their delivery than on the previous release and this adds to the overall depth of the release, especially when laced into the heavier sections of songs. The schizophrenic approach to song structures also seems more pronounced for this release; the acoustic sections, heartfelt song & dark piano melodies appear more poignant when combined with the extra cold, fast blackened riffs, lead guitar wizardry, brutal death growl and a whole battalion of blastbeats!
“The Death of a Rose” comprises of eight epic compositions of which you can expect extremely high quality from all angles; both in terms of creative content and production. FORNOST ARNOR have achieved the sort of results equal to those of OPETH and basically carry on the progressive tradition from this Swedish band whilst also building elements from different genres into their sound so it ranges from Black Metal, Doom, Death, Jazz and nature-inspired Pagan / Folk Metal. The capability to equal OPETH in the skill stakes deserves great credit, however, for future releases it would be good to see FORNOST ARNOR develop their personal approach / techniques further. They certainly have the ability to do so and building on originality may just achieve perfection.