- Band(s): Woods Of Desolation
- Label(s): Season of Mist Underground Activists
- Release Format(s): 12" vinyl, CD
- Release Year: 2022
- Review Date: February 24, 2023
- Author(s): Para Bellum
Woods of Desolation fans have had to wait a long time for the new album of this Australian act – the previous opus “As the Stars” was released eight years ago. Well, the fourth album of Mr D. (Dolor) will not disappoint them: an intense riff progression together with a rather sophisticated song structure erects an impenetrable wall of despair, piercing tremolo melodies tirelessly weave a canvas of hopeless atmosphere that crosses out any hope of returning back. The very thing: music for depressive romantics, this album is a real gift for Atmospheric Black Metal/Post Black Metal fans.
It should be noted that Atmospheric Black Metal itself reigns in the first three songs ‘Far from Here’, ‘Beneath a Sea of Stars’ and ‘Illumination’: intense fast paced sections with blast beat drumming definitely dominate here over slow passages, there are no usual for the Post Black Metal genre drops to melancholic insertions or bridges. If only ‘Illumination’ is based on changes in pace, this song ends quite unexpectedly, by the way. But in general everything is very dynamic on the album’s first part, on top of that rhythm guitar sounds even tough sometimes.
While the second half of the album (‘The Falling Tide’, ‘The Passing…’ and ‘Anew’) is Post Black Metal territory, it is weirder music at an average pace with all sorts of keyboard pirouettes. The keyboards are used much more often here (although sometimes they can be confused with the lead that has too much reverb or echo or delay), for instance ‘The Passing…’ is marked by a mild soothing synth. These pieces show a preference for slightly distorted rhythm that doesn’t irritate or commit violence against the listener. Oddly enough, these songs are not very long for Post Black Metal canons.
However, something stands out from this edifice. For example, the half-submerged keyboards at the beginning and end of the second ‘Beneath a Sea of Stars’ are notable for their manner, creating something similar to a typical Muse passage. Excellent! Whereas the double bass attack throughout the mid-tempo rhythmic passage in the fourth title song gives to the sound a feeling of aggression that is completely unusual for Post Black Metal. The mid-tempo part in the last ‘Anew’, devoid of double bass drumming, serves as an indicative antipode for that section.
Right, definitely, the album’s dynamics is descending, which manifests itself by a kind of bewitching effect. The matter is somewhat complicated by the fact that ‘The Falling Tide’ is strictly sustained within the canonical framework of the genre, here you will not find the slightest claim to musical originality and any hint of a crossover experiment between styles. It is difficult to find something interesting on the album for a listener who is not enthusiastic about this genre: perhaps for atmospheric/post it is the same as if you just copy ‘Transilvanian Hunger’ for the hundredth time in a Black Metal enclave. However, as far as we understand, the main thing in such music is not originality, but emotionality, and ‘The Falling Tide’ contains more than enough of the latter.
Anyway, let’s try to find some “deviations from the norm”. It doesn’t take long to solve this problem: vocals, of course, the vocals. The voice, though strained, is rather atypical for atmospheric/post: hoarse as if losing. As they say, not to everyone’s taste. Much more interesting is that this hoarse voice is perfectly harmonized with a rustle of cymbals. More precisely, with a whisper of them.
This feature of the production is quite obvious, at first, until you get used to the sound, you even get the feeling that the production is somewhat muddy: there is a constant crackle noise or even ringing noise. However, this is not negligent at all, most likely, the strange vocals and the strange cymbal sound are the producer’s (i. e. D’s) artful design. Do not be too lazy to read the Wikipedia entry on Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR): it is likely that the “subjective experience of low-grade euphoria” was the intention of the musician.
Summary. If you take a great fancy to atmospheric/post, ‘The Falling Tide’ will be like a drug for you. Gorgeous melodies will delicately process your consciousness and most likely climb into the subconscious. While if you are unfamiliar with this genre this album can serve as an excellent guide to such music. Enjoy.
Season of Mist Underground Activists
- Country: France
- Style: Black Metal, Thrash Metal, Death Metal
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