March 8, 2017

Will Schube has broken many a bone.

First come the brooding horn synths—a call to arms if I’ve ever heard one—followed by the chopped vocal samples. Then, the urge to punch through a surface—any surface will do. Resistance is futile. Forest Swords’ “The Highest Flood” keeps lurching through the muck while you wrap your hand in gauze and re-plaster the unsuspecting kitchen wall. In summary, the latest from British producer Matthew Barnes’ Forest Swords project is epic in ambition and execution, the skyward fist of fury we all need.

Barnes has been around the electronic music community for a while, putting out early records on No Pain in Pop and Olde English Spelling Bee before signing with Tri Angle, who put out his excellent Engravings in 2013. Since then, Forest Swords has been mostly radio silent, re-appearing here and there with endeavors into soundtracking. “The Highest Flood” picks up where Engravings left off, building upon that album’s murky terrain, taking a slightly more hi-fi approach while remaining in the depths of despair his music so comfortably gravitates towards. “The Highest Flood” comes without an album announcement, but this recent activity after four years of quiet suggests that a new record is likely imminent—this time around with Ninja Tune. Make sure your hand heals by then, because there are likely many more walls to be punched.