In the Woods...

Heart of the Ages

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The debut album by In The Woods, a Netherlands outfit comprised of once-and-future-members of Emperor, Anathema, and Katatonia, is an amalgam of black metal themes and executions combined with something wholly other: a love of melodic, progressive metal and classical -- if epic -- song structures. Utilizing male and female vocals, a slew of razor buzzing guitars, power riffing, and a developing sense of dynamic and atmospherics, In The Woods combines the pure shrieking wail of black metal's most powerful tropes with a love of European Romantic classicism. The result is an album that even now, eight years after its original release, stands apart from virtually everything else on the black metal scene. Here the worship of Wotan, Norse myths, Ride of the Valkryies-style heaviness and textural exploration create an uneasy alliance to alternately woo and obliterate the listener. Taking individual songs apart is fruitless given the conceptual nature of the Heart of the Ages. Suffice to say fans of the thrashing, over-the-top black metal will not be able to abide this. Those, however, interested in the more expansive aspect of this music will note the early date, and the amazing accomplishment and vision. The Candlelight USA reissue of the Misanthropy original is spot on, with fantastically reproduced sound, beautiful graphics that are almost identical to the originals -- but better in reproduction.

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