Forest Swords - Engravings
Critic Score
Based on 21 reviews
2013 Ratings: #41 / 1035
User Score
Based on 227 ratings
2013 Ratings: #66
Liked by 1 person
August 26, 2013 / Release Date
LP / Format
Tri Angle / Label
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Forest Swords’ debut long-player is electronic mastery at its very finest, because ‘Engravings’ manages to make electronic music feel tactile, organic, and alive.


Engravings stands as a significant work. It’s an album that has facets from across the spectrum of experimental electronic music but, in the hands of the masterful sonic auteur Matthew Barnes, Forest Swords’ music sounds triumphantly singular. 

Resident Advisor

What Barnes has done here is give us a full tour of a hidden place he only let us peek at before, a place that's even more breathtaking than Dagger Paths made it out to be.

No Ripcord

It’s like a walk in the woods on an autumn day – it might be vast, yet it’s also pleasingly intimate, and while there’s a definite chill in the air, it’s still a nourishing experience

Tiny Mix Tapes

Engravings seems the culmination of the sound that, it’s now apparent, Barnes was only developing on 2010’s Dagger Paths EP, bringing to that darkness a maturity that consists in a paradoxical expansion of space and in the introduction of depth perception through fog0like tendrils of white infecting that flat black panorama

The 405

All across the UK at the moment there's an incredible number of talented solo producers/musicians working to provide us with fantastic music - right now though, there can be few projects better or more ambitious than Forest Swords.

The Line of Best Fit

It’s a sonic exploration that, not unlike graphic design, takes physical elements and visualises them in another manner. And it sounds incredible.


Unrestricted by words or verse-chorus structures, Barnes’ songs reflect the way life can feel like an endless loop, growing and building without ever losing its cyclical nature.

Drowned in Sound

With references to house, dub, and instrumental rock all stitched together into a looping, building tapestry that manages to be both visually and emotionally evocative, this is certainly an album that will keep your interest long into the next fad.

FACT Magazine

Engravings suggests that Barnes’ staying power has outlasted whatever witch house or chillwave subgenres he was initially lumped into.

Consequence of Sound

Engravings, isn’t solely inspired by present aspects like today’s weather; instead, it’s a blend of the modern prevalence of dub and the harsh mysteries of Norse invasions in England’s distant past.

Some interesting moments of experimentation (both instruments and progression) and unnusual cintilating melodies here. Also, very tasteful and balanced bass effect placed just where it's necessary.
That being said, I am more attracted to the tracks with the more organic instrumentals, or at least where those are simulated. Everything else is really skilled but fails to emotionally connect with me.
It is creative, can't deny that.

GO LISTEN TO: The Plumes.
☆☆☆☆ — sublime
Amazing record...a really fascinating experience with the eastern influences and rich soundscapes.
It really is a must listen for anyone who hasn't heard it.
A deep collage of electronic. The tools used here demonstrate a new form of nature that feels everlasting and moonlit. The nearly indescribable vocals add an otherworldly narration to the season it's casting over our heads and make for a dynamic relationship when together.
The odd electronic/experimental album that sounds like it was made acoustically in the jungles by a civilization of a parallel and slightly different earth/universe. This album continues to interest and impress me.
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Track List

  1. Ljoss
  2. Thor's Stone
  3. Irby Tremor
  4. Onward
  5. The Weight of Gold
  6. Anneka's Battle
  7. An Hour
  8. Gathering
  9. The Plumes
  10. Friend, You Will Never Learn
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Added on: August 11, 2013