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Gandalf's Fist - 'A Forest Of Fey' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/69/2c/71/gandalfs-fist-a-forest-of-fey-85-1424376287.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     February 19, 2015    
 
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Gandalf's Fist have created another cracker here.

Gandalf's Fist have flitted around in the background of the Prog scene for quite some time now. However with 2013's 'A Day In The Life Of A Universal Warrior', the Fist made their presence truly felt; countless positive reviews and much internet chatter thoroughly deserved as a convoluted space-based concept piece hit the mark musically and lyrically. At that stage, the band were still a duo of Dean Marsh (vocals/guitars/mandolin/keys/bass) and Luke Severn (vocals/lyrics) however with the addition of drummer Stefan Hepe and bassist Chris Ewan, GF are now a fully-fledged band.

Interestingly for this quick fire follow-up, apart from on one track, 'The World We Created', Severn limits himself to backing vocals, Melissa Hollick being the main voice you'll hear across 'A Forest Of Fey'; it's a bold move but one which reaps rewards with Hollick being perfect for the "adult" fairytale told  a girl lost in the woods, who encounters all manner of other beings and events  all of which may sound twee but is executed with real skill.

Musically things are bolstered by luminaries such as Clive Nolan (Arena), Troy Donockley (Nightwish) and amongst others Matt Stevens, while It Bites/Arena man John Mitchell provides a trademark vocal to 'Stories Old And Stories Told (Of Children Brave And Children Bold)'. However none of these cameos overshadow the main event; a mix of Traditional Prog and a Neo influence combining with touches of Folk and some amazingly catchy choruses.

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The album's title track, 'The World We Created' and 'Forest Rose (Coming Home)' prove particularly memorable and yet it is the overall atmosphere of wonder, claustrophobia, threat and release which continually draw you back for more. Voice actress Alicia Arthur also deserves special mention, her contributions at the beginning and end of the album bringing a pleasing BBC Radio4 "play for today" feel to the short spoken sections, which in the wrong hands could have been cringe-worthy.

The ending of the story is ambiguous, does the girl return to the "real world" or stay in the forest? No one is really sure, but what is certain is that Gandalf's Fist have created another cracker here, for the Forest Of Fey may not be what it appears but it is a spellbinding place to visit.

Steven Reid

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