Dark Forest is the type of band my friends and I would have loved discovering in the pages of Metal Forces or (very intentional plug here) Powerline magazines some 25 years ago. I bring up the now faded pages of those great metal fanzines because the music on Dawn of Infinity recalls both the NWOBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal) and dawn of power metal with pride. The thrash revival has rightfully received a lot of attention over the last five years but here’s another resurgence that is very welcome. The five members of Dark Forest are from the West Midlands of the United Kingdom and given their sound that location almost seems obvious after a listens.

The throwback references are meant as nothing but extremely high praise. The dual guitars of Christian Horton (who founded the band in 2002) and James Lees alternate between lock-step gallop and soaring harmonies on the sophisticatedly structured 10 songs. Singer Will Lowry-Scott simply soars. You won’t mind that he might not have the natural gifts of a Bruce Dickinson or Rob Halford because he makes up for in spirit, stamina and phrasing. His range (particularly the throaty end of it) recalls Hades’ Alan Tecchio, who back in the day quite a few us considered one of the better metal singers. Lowry-Scott SINGS, not a word or vocal is growled, gurgled, shrieked or shouted. That alone is a welcome relief in 2011.

If Maiden is the obvious influence, you might also hear the swagger and confidence of Manowar (minus the gimmickry) and the “seek the skies” sophistication of Dio-era Rainbow. What is most important about “Dawn of Infinity” is that it works from beginning to end. The songs toward the end (“Under the Greenwood Tree” and “Black Delta”) are as convincing as the showcases that start the album (I think the word “album” works best with NWOBHM revivalism). Both “Green Knight” and “The Tor” deserve recognition because the guitar playing and singing on them are equally awesome.

If this is the beginning of a trend in vintage revivalism, Dark Forest are very worthy leaders.