Woods of Desolation – As The Stars [Australia, Black] (2014)

Northern Silence Productions | 1-14-14

Northern Silence Productions | 1-14-14

Woods of Desolation came to my attention with the 2011 release of Torn Beyond Reason. This was also the time when I was really into atmospheric black metal and was collecting bands which starting with W. Torn Beyond Reason as it turns out was a fantastic combination of depressive black metal and filled with entertaining atmosphere. The band was also related, loosely, to other Australian black metal acts such as Austere, Germ, and Temple Nightside. As the Stars is the project’s third release which reinvents its sound while still being as emotionally threatening as before.

Although the combination of post rock is joked about, a lot, within the black metal community, its execution can be effective if done right. As The Stars openly embraces the post rock template with shrieks and screams flayed over top of cascading instrumentation. There are moments of quiet and pause before bold punctuation which come on the back of beasts. The result retains Woods of Desolation’s primary emotional concern which is the dance of the beautiful and the wretched.

There has been much discussion on this record as some of the criticisms surrounding it lie in such a well treaded style. Black metal is currently experiencing a surge in popularity for the post rock style which makes the sound less unique. With that said, As the Stars does make use of the style by adding dimension to an already reasonable sound. “This Autumn Light” and “Withering Field” are astounding in their use of tremolo cascades and make the transition from the depressive into the atmospheric much more bearable. In fact the whole record has an undeniable groove which allows for multiple trips through its winding corridors. I will never fault a band for embracing change and using albums as tools for self discovery.