In the Woods...

Omnio

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Following their blast of black metal-inspired Heart of the Ages, In the Woods came up with this devastatingly beautiful marriage of prog metal, gothic texture, epic scope, and amazingly intricate, deeply moving songwriting for a tour de force that stands as one of European metal's classic recordings. Leaving the screaming vocals to the ashes of black metal's first wave, Omnio instead concentrates on creating long (there are only five tracks here), gorgeously woven narratives with emotions such as grief, sorrow, reverence, mysticism, paganism, and Norse lore. With slowly unfolding schemata, In the Woods manages to accomplish the darker side of what Marillion did in the early days: creating mood, atmosphere, and drama with stunningly clear male and female vocals, wailing guitars, and a string quartet just atop the drum kit. Featuring once and future members of Emperor, Anathema, and Katatonia, the band's shape-shifting tunes sound, at times, like pure poetry colored by the beautiful brutality of heavy rock and metal. Singing tunes out of this cycle for review is pointless since Omnio is all of a piece, one that is deeply affecting, and full of spaces and mystery. One complete listen is enough to leave one literally speechless, exhausted, and fully of awe and delight. Omnio is a classic of the genre and has remained deeply influential since its initial release in 1997. Candlelight's sonic template on the reissue is nothing short of gorgeous, and its package is nearly identical to the original Misanthropy release -- in fact, it may be nicer -- and includes complete lyrics and graphics.

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