Webzine DPRP have done a great review of the latest Forest Field album Angels?. It reads:
If there was to be a prize for the most misleading cover of a prog rock CD, I would certainly nominate the Dutch band Forest Field. Their third CD, Angels?, comes in a carton card box with a cartoon on the cover showing a naked girl wrapped in yellow tape that carries the text “Caution, Keep Out”. For me, this signals ‘keep away!’ as this CD will contain some uninteresting drum ‘n bass, house, dance or techno musical adventure, all of which I’m totally uninterested in. But Forest Field is none of these at all, and that’s the first good thing about this album!
The band is primarily a one-man project, with Dutchman Peter Cox playing all instruments and also adding some humming vocals in Left at Cloud 9 and Message For a Messenger, which are both essentially instrumentals. Phil Vincent, an American vocalist with whom Cox has also worked on former Forest Field albums, takes care of all vocals, recording remotely from Cox in an American studio. His voice reminds me of Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson, and that’s not a bad thing!
Musically, this album is a mixed bag. It starts off with the nice, atmospheric instrumental Broken Wings, with acoustic guitar, mellow synths, piano and fluid electric guitar. Half-way through there is a sudden and not-so-harmonious tempo break that doesn’t do the track full justice. While it appeals to me as it is, this first track is not at all representative of what the album offers.
With four more instrumentals, varying from the short but nice Left at Cloud 9 through to the beautiful Message for a Messenger (there so much in that song that brings the Eagles’ Journey of the Sorcerer to mind, which is nice) to Lovers Lane, a guitar-driven instrumental that proceeds at a rather slow but enjoyable pace, reminiscent of Snowy White’s Bird of Paradise! The last instrumental is the inconspicuous In Excelsis, which suffers from a much too sudden fade-out.
The album also offers more up-tempo songs, such as the title track, which shows a very different side of the band as it is a AOR song in the vein of Journey or Foreigner. Angel With a Dirty Face is another example of that style, with nice percussion played just after the time signature, which has an overall feeling of Foreigner’s Feels Like the First Time.
The Zoo sounds like The Babys or Kansas during their Power-period, being a solid rock song built upon metal riffs with good vocals, a bluesy guitar solo half-way and a metal-ish solo at the end of the song. Too bad the vocals sound a bit distorted at the end when the vintage keyboards are mixed to the forefront.
Inbetween is the ballad Looks Like Rain, which has very nice, slightly-distorted guitars following the harmony vocals and odd-time signatures, leading to an attractive bluesy guitar solo that makes this a great track!
The album ends with the weakest track, Spot on the Sun, which has a rather non-descript rock melody, ending as suddenly as it starts. It is not an end worthy of this nice album.
Peter Cox indicates on the inner sleeve of the package that not all of this project should be taken too seriously. Well, that may account for the sleeve (good practical joke!) but he has taken himself quite seriously in the music, which pays off due to its quality. Tracks such as Message for a Messenger and It Looks Like Rain are little gems. Not all of the album may be as progressive as many readers of this site would like, but it’s progressive enough to check out.
Thank You Theo! And glad you got the idea behind the artwork 🙂