Forest Swords - Engravings
Critic Score
Based on 20 reviews
2013 Ratings: #39 / 953
User Score
Based on 185 ratings
2013 Ratings: #29
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.

His best. The songs are colossal, repetitive and harmonious. Wonderful album.
Top Favorite: Ljoss
Other Favorites: Irby Tremor, Thor's Stone, Friend, You Will Never Learn
Least Favorite: Gathering
Lost in humid landscapes, mystified by the subtle texturing of unconsciousness and listening to the seducing call of the sirens.
What an experience!
a mainly electronic chill out album, beautiful moments throughout, great beats and uplifting euphoric sections, brilliant production and superb track constructions, classy
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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