DARK FOREST – Oak, Ash & Thorn

DARK FOREST - Oak, Ash & Thorn
  • 7.4/10
    DARK FOREST - Oak, Ash and Thorn - 7.4/10


Cruz Del Sur Music
Release date: April 24 2020

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Tight Celtic Metal from the UK’s Dark Forest

DARK FOREST (UK) have released their 4th full length album Oak, Ash and Thorn through Cruz del Sur Music and offer some great songs in the tradition of British Heavy Metal as laid down by  NWOBHM bands like the mighty IRON MAIDEN. With a mostly stable lineup for the past 7 years (minus former bassist Paul Thompson who left the band in 2018) DARK FOREST have melded into a mature sounding classic metal band with plenty of galloping beats, 6/8 timing and loads of harmony guitars that show off their strong song writing abilities and tightness as a band.

Dark Forest Band Photo
Dark Forest

Classic Metal

The album opens with a beautiful instrumental “Ælfscýne” with it’s rich guitar tones over a softly falling rain in the forest which leads us into “Wayfarer’s Eve” with it’s catchy Celtic melodies over a 6/8 metal rhythm. It’s all very much epic Classic Metal with a folk flavor that at times reminds me of how the great THIN LIZZY had a knack for infusing traditional folk music with Hard Rock/Metal is in “Whiskey in a Jar”.

True to Their Roots

The album continues with another traditional Metal song “The Midnight Folk” which follows in the album’s theme of proud Celtic lyrics and harmony guitars that are both catchy and fun to listen to. “Relics” gives us more of the same, and has you finding yourself starting to think that you are listening to metal from an earlier era. The album contains 9 tracks with the title cut coming in at over 11 minutes, giving us plenty to enjoy for the price of the album. This song in particular has beautiful parts that weave a magical spell over the listener making us think we are indeed in the dark forest of another time and place.

Final Notes

The band is very talented and tight, and the songs are well written. I found myself liking pretty much the whole album, and coming back for more. The down side for me is that the production at times sounds a little dry on the vocals and leaving me wanting a little better treatment of the finished product. I look forward to more from DARK FOREST, and I think Oak, Ash and Thorn is definitely worth a listen.


Christian Horton – Guitar
Josh Winnard – Vocals
Pat Jenkins – Guitar
Adam Sidaway – Drums

Oak, Ash and Thorn – Track List

1. Ælfscýne (1:25)
2. Wayfarer’s Eve (5:24)
3. The Midnight Folk (5:10)
4. Relics (5:55)
5. Avalon Rising (7:15)
6. Oak, Ash & Thorn (11:55)
7. The Woodlander (4:43)
8. Eadric’s Return (7:23)
9. Heart of the Rose (3:35)


  • Bryce Van Patten

    Bryce is an audio engineer and a graphic designer here at Metal Express Radio. From the day he purchased his first album (Machine Head by Deep Purple), he has had a passion for heavy music, which has influenced his whole life. Bryce is from the great Pacific Northwest in USA, and has played in metal bands like Babylon, Holy Terror, The Wild Dogs, Warhead and Egypt through the 80s. He had his first interview for the Portland, Oregon publication The Rock Rag with guitarist Paul Gilbert in his Racer X days. Then he was honored to get to have drinks, and talk for an hour with the legendary Dan McCafferty of Nazareth for his second interview. In 2013, he spent an amazing hour talking to Andi Deris of Helloween, which was the high point of his heavy metal journalism.   In the year 2001, he formed Man in Black Music Publishing. They released recordings by several local bands, and in the spirit of the old Metal Massacre compilations, he created a 2-album series called The Defenders of Metal. The albums featured classic styled Metal bands from all around the world, with bands from Australia to England, and from Argentina to Russia. Currently, he is the producer/creator/vocalist of the Metal band The Black Tuesdays.

    View all posts

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.