Afforested -
Wolf’s Heads And Woodlanders

(CD 2009, 15:23, Private Release)

The tracks:
  1- Willikin of the Weald(3:44)
  2- A Late Summer Drift(2:24)
  3- The Yearning of the Green Hart(2:37)
  4- Escaping King William(3:07)
  5- The Hollow Yew(3:29)

Afforested Website (with samples)               

Background Magazine gets many requests to review releases of unknown bands. Some of those bands send us their new CD, while others offer a download version. However, we cannot everything we receive file under progressive rock music. In that case, the music is not suitable for a review on our website. However, occasionally I have the pleasure to discover a new talent. One of them are Afforested, a progressive folk rock band from the English county of Kent.

Afforested are a duo consisting of the Betts-brothers. Alex Betts plays keyboards, drums, flute, recorder, whistle and percussion. His brother Jonathan sings and plays acoustic guitar, bass, mandolin and anvil (!). They have been inspired by ancient woodlands and stories of heroes from the past. They told me that their songs weave tales of medieval outlaws, spirits of the forest and life in the greenwood. Yes, indeed, everything they mentioned I recognized on their first release Wolf’s Head And Woodlanders. This EP is the first official release of Afforested. Most of the material is instrumental except for the song Escaping King William that features Jonathan’s vocals. It is not difficult for me to describe their music. The synthesizers sound as if Rick Wakeman played them in the seventies on his MiniMoog. Excellent playing, anyway! The medieval sound resembles Gryphon as we can hear on the old albums recorded in the seventies. The use of whistles, recorders and mandolins are mainly responsible for that Gryphon-sound. Thanks to the use of the flute traverse, the link to Jethro Tull can be made easily. The music of Afforested never gets bored and moves also slightly in the direction of bands such as Camel, Gentle Giant and PFM. The acoustic guitar parts reminds me of Gordon Giltrap and indeed, the brothers mention him as an influence on their My Space-page on the internet. I can only be positive about this release. Jonathan and Alex made some fine music together. You can hear that they found each other in the music as brothers do. This very short piece of music can be downloaded on their My Space-page for free. My advice is: if you like the above-mentioned names check this one out. The band is working on a full-length album that they intend to record in 2010. I guess that album will not be free to download after the release, but they can send me a copy to review for Background Magazine anytime…

**** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)

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