WOODS OF DESOLATION

Atmospheric Black Metal / Depressive Black Metal • Australia
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Woods of Desolation is a raw black metal / depressive black metal band from Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia formed in 2005.

They released their first full-length album Toward the Depths in 2008. Main lyrical themes are sorrow, darkness, negativity and solitude.

Wave after wave Toward the Depths’, the debut full-length, hits the listener repeatedly in the face with such force one would think they’re being handed their ass on a plate by the devil himself. This intolerant record, surprisingly, leans more towards other style of black metal than it does towards the raw sub-genre that it proclaims to adhere to. Once again, the description of “depressive black metal” has reared its head and branded Woods of Desolation, who’s name fits perfectly onto the list of depressive bands, with a hot poker stick. This will instantly turn some people off, leading them to assume this is another typical band, within another stereotypical
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As the StarsAs the Stars
Imports 2014
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WOODS OF DESOLATION Discography

WOODS OF DESOLATION albums / top albums

WOODS OF DESOLATION Toward the Depths album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Toward the Depths
Depressive Black Metal 2008
WOODS OF DESOLATION Torn Beyond Reason album cover 3.77 | 5 ratings
Torn Beyond Reason
Atmospheric Black Metal 2011
WOODS OF DESOLATION As The Stars album cover 3.00 | 2 ratings
As The Stars
Atmospheric Black Metal 2014

WOODS OF DESOLATION EPs & splits

WOODS OF DESOLATION Woods of Desolation / Drohtnung album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Woods of Desolation / Drohtnung
Depressive Black Metal 2008
WOODS OF DESOLATION Sorh album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Sorh
Atmospheric Black Metal 2009

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WOODS OF DESOLATION Reviews

WOODS OF DESOLATION Torn Beyond Reason

Album · 2011 · Atmospheric Black Metal
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Phonebook Eater
7/10

Where despair becomes hopefulness....

Woods Of Desolation are an Australian Black Metal outfit, “Torn Beyond Reason” is already their third studio effort, after two albums mainly influenced by Depressive Black Metal. This last album is a major improvement, to the point where it can be compared easily to other great albums by projects such as Alcest, Fen, or Coldworld.

The maturity of the sound is felt because of a pretty solid change in direction, this time around being influenced more by Shoegaze and Post-Rock. The Atmospheric Black Metal sound is anyway far from gone: The production is very blurry but somewhat dreamy, the fierce guitars are veiled with shoegazey reverb, the powerful shriek vocals a little buried and drowned by the other instruments, as it is convention. As mentioned, this sort of sound reminds a bit of Alcest’s fiercer side, and other Blackgaze acts, thus what is heard isn’t really that innovating nor original, but very traditional and even safe. However, the band’s skills in songwriting is extremely strong, almost every moment is beautiful, evocative, and haunting. Their melodies are truly memorable, and that’s probably what makes the album the most.

While some think that “Torn Beyond Reason” is an album that, like it’s predecessors, is extremely desperate and depressing, I find that there is in it’s potent touch of melancholy a great dose of hopefulness, even though it does come from a very dark corner. But the emotiveness is undeniable and it’s all over the place for the entire thirty seven minutes; human emotion has never been put, I must admit, in such a dreary context this year, (except maybe for “Mammal” by Altar Of Plagues) but there can be sensed a sort of wretched attempt to grasping redemption.

The starting song, the title track, gives a tempestuous yet passionate start for the album, creating a bleak, haunting atmosphere thanks to some beautiful melodies. “Darker Days” does the job done even better, to the point where it’s easily the best and most memorable song of the album. As I previously implied, some moments are a little too traditional and remind of quite a few bands, like the following two tracks, however, it’s not wrong to wear influences on your sleeve, and they still manage to be haunting and efficacious. Another small highlight is “November”, a short interlude that however is extremely well done and deserves to be just as praised as a song like “Darker Days”: it starts with an acoustic piece, and shortly builds into shoegaze heaven.

“Torn Beyond Reason” is another highlight of the year for Black Metal: an extremely haunting and beautiful piece of work that should be recognized more than how it really is.

WOODS OF DESOLATION Torn Beyond Reason

Album · 2011 · Atmospheric Black Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
J-Man
Torn Beyond Reason can best be described as an unforgettable journey into the deepest depths of human emotion. The bleak chord progressions, beautifully poetic lyrics, and unavoidable feeling of helplessness are inescapable throughout this near-forty minute album, making it an observation that is simultaneously disturbing and beautiful - if that's even possible, of course. With Torn Beyond Reason, Woods of Desolation have crafted one of the best albums in the depressive black metal genre; this is an absolutely mandatory purchase for anyone who enjoys black metal with heavy doses of melancholy. An album as dark, poignant, and bleak as this one obviously isn't for the faint of heart, but it is an ideal listen for any depressive black metal fan on a cold and rainy evening.

Woods of Desolation draw heavily from the shoegaze-influenced style of depressive black metal on this album. The music can get pretty heavy at times, but it always maintains a melancholic vibe that's accentuated by razor-thin guitar riffs, tortured vocals, and epic synthesizer passages. Even though there are a few soft, almost post-rock sounding sections, Torn Beyond Reason has a very firm foot in raw black metal, so don't expect a whole lot of quiet passages. The genius of this observation ultimately lies in its ability to incorporate subtle beauty into raging black metal madness, and (even more importantly) do it with the level of success and precision that Woods of Desolation have done here. Not only are they gifted as musicians, but they are also some of the most talented songwriters in modern black metal. Just listen to the absolutely stunning instrumental track "November" to understand the diversity of Woods of Desolation - although very simple and to the point, it's one of the most beautiful songs I've heard in a while. Sheer genius.

The somewhat rough and unique production took a few spins to completely understand, but now I have a difficult time imagining Torn Beyond Reason any other way. The raw and unpolished sound suits the music perfectly, and the spot-on mix (the keyboards are in the absolutely perfect range) is excellent. I think the rather lo-fi sound helps accentuate the melancholic atmosphere even further.

Torn Beyond Reason is a good example of depressive black metal done right. The compositions are dynamic, the musicianship is tight, the production is raw and powerful, and a dose of originality sets Woods of Desolation apart from the rest. Anyone with even a passive interest in depressive black metal should be sure to check this one out - this is not only one of 2011's best, but also one of the genre's best. 4.5 stars is the least I can give to this stunning masterpiece.

WOODS OF DESOLATION Torn Beyond Reason

Album · 2011 · Atmospheric Black Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Vehemency
Like I mentioned in my recent review of Woods of Desolation’s EP release Sorh, I had my doubts about the upcoming second full-length that was said to change the direction a little and cleanse the sound. And now that I’ve heard Torn Beyond Reason, I can’t but confirm those claims. Whereas the band’s previous material leaned more heavily on obscure and nature-like foggy atmosphere, Torn Beyond Reason is basically Austere’s To Lay Like Old Ashes part two: rather well produced majestic depressive black metal with some post-rock influences.

I can’t stress enough how much this is identical to the previously mentioned band and album, and no surprise there, knowing how closely these groups are intertwined: from the impressive howls and screams (and clean vocals of ”Somehow...”) to the tight battering and - most importantly - the tremolo picked melodies full of sorrow, everything is done the same way throughout the 38 minutes. A perfect length for the album, by the way. Some differences do occur, though: the three-minute interlude ”November” is a little surprise here with its hopeful acoustic strumming that builds up to include the rock instrumentation, not quite what you would expect from the song title and from a Woods of Desolation album - perhaps more likely from Anathema’s last year’s offering.

Do I necessarily need another To Lay Like Old Ashes if the differences are few and far between? Well, Torn Beyond Reason does offer some brilliant moments, such as the title track and ”Darker Days” that provide some truly heart-rending melodies, and also the 9-minute centerpiece ”The Inevitable End” starts to show signs of ingenuity after repeated listens. Thanks to these best moments of the album - that occur just about enough often - I could say yes, Torn Beyond Reason is a worthy album and it would be a shame to rate it poorly.

In terms of musicianship and production, I’m sure this album is a step forward for Woods of Desolation’s members, but for me it’s one step back from evolving into something more unique; instead, Torn Beyond Reason follows the current trends a tad too closely and hence consists of maybe too unsurprising elements. In a way, it’s not a bad thing when it’s done this convincingly, but on the other hand these similar melodies don’t have the same impact anymore because most of them have been heard already. Once again I’m interested to hear how the band evolves from here: if another album like this is to be expected, I’m not sure will I be that interested anymore.

WOODS OF DESOLATION Sorh

EP · 2009 · Atmospheric Black Metal
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Vehemency
After Austere ventured to somewhat unnecessarily clean grounds on their last effort To Lay Like Old Ashes, it is a pure pleasure to discover a band like Woods of Desolation that utilizes the best parts of lo-fi, depressive black metal. This is, at least, the case with their 2009 EP entitled Sorh, as I’ve heard that the upcoming second full-length shows a slight change of direction in Woods of Desolation’s sound too. While waiting for that album with dread (yeah, I always have my dystopic doubts), let’s delve into the reverby, fuzzy landscapes of Sorh.

As the previous adjectives implied, this EP is really droney due to the extremely foggy production. You can barely hear the drums - only slower beats can be easily distinguished by the accenting bass kicks and snare hits - but that doesn’t matter, as the backbone to the music are the mesmerizing, melancholic tremolo melodies and distant, blurry screams. Everything is dream-like, almost non-moving, soothing. Think of Austere’s debut Withering Illusions and Desolation, this is very close to that in all departments, albeit the ethereal atmosphere is even a level higher on Sorh.

The static production that roars like a vacuum has its downsides, too, as it’s harder to find any specifically grabbing moments from any of the four tracks presented. Listening to Sorh is like a dive into another world where everything is pleasing but nothing really stands out: hence this EP is ideal to get for its convincingly sorrowful atmosphere alone. Recommended not only for depressive black metal fans but for also those who show even a slight interest in the subgenre, because Woods of Desolation seems to be among the best acts in its category in recent years.

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