I think I need to add another album to my list of ones I consider perfect, the album in question is the one I'm reviewing right now, Torn Beyond Reason
by Woods of Desolation
. Woods of Desolation
fit into the melancholic brand of Depressive Black Metal
along with bands such as Austere
. So what exactly is melancholic Black Metal
? Well to put it simply it's Depressive Black Metal
that isn't as dark and suicidal as most other bands. The music is noticeably lighter than the standard affair, it's much more melodious and it can be at times fairly uplifting.
Woods of Desolation
are frequently compared to Austere
, people say they sound extremely similar. This is true they do but on the bright side I personally find Woods of Desolation
to be much more enjoyable than Austere
partly due to the fact that Woods of Desolation
doesn't have them annoying 20 minutes coma tracks that plagues Austere
's albums and ruins an album that would be perfect if it didn't have them.
Now onto the music. First the guitars, they sound very similar almost identical to the tone Austere
used on their beautifully named album To Lay Like Old Ashes
. The guitars sound fairly clean, they're not distorted too much but they are fairly distorted. They have quite a light, airy feel to them. It feels much less overpowering than other Depressive Black Metal
bands such as Be Persecuted
who's guitar tone is absolutely devastating. Although I love guitars in Black Metal
to be harsh, hazy and dissonant. I like it when a Black Metal
band goes against the norm. The tone is perfect for this album, it's got the right amount of distortion and the melodies they play a breathtakingly beautiful. They're not the usual dark, crushing melodies found in most Depressive Black Metal
, they're much lighter and much more melodic, at times being fairly uplifting like the ending riff in the first track Torn Beyond Reason
. There is some acoustic guitar usage in this album, but it isn't used in every track. When they are used they work really well especially in the fifth track November
which is without a doubt one of the most beautiful acoustic songs I've ever heard a metal guitarist do.
As is so common in this sub genre of Black Metal
the bass guitar is mostly inaudible (no surprise there), although some people like the bass to be audible I generally don't. Probably due to the fact that I hate bass oriented styles of music like dub step. I often find that at times the bass can be too over powering and that it buries all other instruments. Some times an audible bass can work, Mortifera
is an example but other times I find that it just ruins the music. I'm really glad Woods of Desolation
didn't do this because it would get the listeners attention away from the absolutely beautiful music resonating from the guitars.
Drums are pretty much your standard affair really, there's not really any blast beating done but there is enough tempo changes to keep it interesting and varied enough to stop the drum performance from stagnating. The drums are placed perfectly in the mix, they're not too loud that it over powers the music and they're not so quiet that you can barely hear them it's a perfect fit.
Now onto the vocals. Tim Yatras aka Sorrow
handles the vocal work on this album. He's garnered quite a lot of recognition in regards to his vocal work on his previous band Austere
and it's easy to see why. Tim's vocals are a set of ear splitting shrieks and voice box obliterating wails. I personally really like these kind of vocals because they portray so much pain and emotion one would expect to find in Depressive Black Metal
. The clean vocals are used in small doses and are better than the ones featured in Austere
simply because they sound less "emo". Although he doesn't have the most "metal" sounding singing voice they do their job brilliantly and fit perfectly in with the rest of the music.
The lyrics on this album are extremely good. They're akin to those found in Austere
's works, beautiful poetic lyrics depicting feelings of sorrow and melancholy. They're easily the most emotive and well written Depressive Black Metal
lyrics I've read. I love the fact they're not the usual wrist slitter suicide that is so common in the genre. They're much more poetic and intelligent than that. They're also similar to Nyktalgia
's lyrics with the heavy utilization of metaphors and focus on vivid imagery but Woods of Desolation
's aren't as dark and cold.
Overall this is one of the best Depressive Black Metal
releases I've heard if not the best. This album is absolutely stunning and perfect and I highly urge all fans of Black Metal
hell all of Metal
to pick this album up right away. This album shows why mainstream music always feels so diluted and sterile. Fans of Austere
will definitely find something to enjoy in this album as will most fans of Black Metal
. This is one of the most touching and emotionally powerful albums I've ever had the pleasure of listening to. Although it would be better if November
was longer but it still warrants a perfect rating from me because this album is simply put; perfect. Highly recommended.