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This is a very surprising album.
At first I thought: hey, this recording is shitty and the vocals weird in a bad way.
Then, after it stayed on my playlist for a while, I started noticing things as the music kept growing on me and not long after - I absolutely loved this album.

A very short description would be: It mixes black metal with melodic elements, without the bad stuff normally associated with such a fusion. That is an oversimplification however.

The melodies are really heart-wrenching, a constant battering of tremolo picking, more or less in the fore, occasionally fading to the background. There are no classical instruments, no keyboards, no fancy additions that dilute the music. Just the basics - guitars, vocals and drums. The latter work well, their sound reminds me of In the Nightside Eclipse - that sort of remote crunchiness, it fits very well and the entire percussion section is well defined, crisp but does not dwarf the other instruments. There is no simple rhythm, the drums are convoluted, work in conjunction with the cascading guitars and maintain the integrity of the entire record. You won't hear blast beats here, that would be too simple, no, instead you get a slightly progressive feel and technical prowess.

Once you get to know this album, its production suddenly becomes more than satisfactory - it retains the coveted grittiness but at the same time you can tell every instrument apart. The song structure and layout is well thought-out to enhance that feeling.
Compositions vary and just when you thought they have reached the melodic peak, you're astounded in the next song as yet another beautiful melody makes your feet race on the spot. Typical black metal elements are reduced after a fashion to make way for slower parts and tremolo crescendos devoid of the "trve pagan satan" blackness, grimness and the constant attempts to sound evil. D. sheds that outdated approach.

He (yes, it's a one-man band) does not try to cater to the classic second wave BM but instead derives his roots from there and you can clearly hear that, especially through the vocals, which although muffled to an extent, add to the overall climate of the album in strange ways.

Woods of Desolation pay homage to BM but it makes its own music without having to adhere to some obscure and vague rules of the genre or misconceptions of the conservative listeners. Some say this is post-black and maybe that's an accurate description. Though not typically dark, it maintains a somewhat longing, melancholic theme throughout, especially with the guitar work. I wouldn't say it's the kind of sadness typical for doom metal, more like a scent of it.

Ultimately however, it's a music of hope and better future. Not necessarily bright, just... better.
Very uplifting album, I always feel better after listening.
Favorites: Unfold and Ad Infinitum.


Review by: Enclave

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