Woods of Desolation - Torn Beyond Reason
Northern Silence Productions
Melodic Black Metal
6 songs (37'43")
Release year: 2011
Northern Silence
Reviewed by Alex
Surprise of the month

I am not sure if I will display my lack of knowledge with recent terms, but whether Cascadian label applies to the Australian duo Woods of Desolation or not I did enjoy their brand of atmospheric black metal. This ambient melodic music fits perfectly with Northern Silence direction in black metal regardless whether the Cascadian tag is properly applied or not.

From the very beginning of the opening title track a shroud of watery airy riffs is pulled over fairly tight with guitars sometimes picked so fast the illusion of sound wall is complete, the guitars even creating a synthesizer impression here and there (An Unbroken Moment). Unlike many of their cohorts (including the genre masterminds Wolves in the Throne Room) Woods of Desolation percussive patterns are not rattling fleeting blastbeats, but mostly punched up double bass. When this heavy drumming subsides the calm melodies of the band have even better chance to shine, yet the above combination and the super-processed distant vocals work well together.

The same blueprint is presented over and over, the first significant spacey synth breakdown, the first significant variation of any kind, not coming in until the middle of the third track (An Unbroken Moment). However, the music on Torn Beyond Reason avoids the burden of repetitiveness due to an excellent flow, perhaps due to the album’s melodies unbridled simplicity. It is easy to pick them out from the mix and continuously follow, allowing this relaxing tender blanket to set in.

I can see how some may consider the album to be unnecessarily stretched out, even though it lasts less than 40 min. The predictable enveloping melodic fuzz can become irritating for some, but I personally like the stylistics of this black metal sub-genre, and Woods of Desolation do nothing to diminish it, despite the aura or predictability existing by the time the closer Somehow … rolls in.

The duo of D and Sorrow provide in some wrinkles of variability, like the vestiges of clean otherworldly chorus in An Unbroken Moment, the almost expected acoustic reprieve of November which still builds up into a full-bodied track, or the slower, more funeral opening of The Inevitable End pompous enough to remind of Draconian or Colosseum. Sometimes influenced by classical music, Woods of Desolation have about the same knack to create the sense of euphoria as early Alcest albums and this is high praise I would not throw around lightly.

I am completely unfamiliar with Woods of Desolation discography which came before Torn Beyond Reason, and I suspect many would not be either. Torn Beyond Reason, however, is a solid piece of enjoyable melodic ambiance.

Killing Songs :
Torn Beyond Reason, An Unbroken Moment
Alex quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Woods of Desolation that we have reviewed:
Woods of Desolation - As the Stars reviewed by Alex and quoted 63 / 100
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