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Woods Of Desolation - As The Stars Award winner

Woods Of Desolation
As The Stars
by H.P. Buttcraft at 25 February 2014, 1:38 AM

“As The Stars” is a new offering from Australian musicians WOODS OF DESOLATION. I got to let you in on something about this record; when you start listening to it from the very first moment, it gets into your veins almost immediately. This album truly finds its voice through its dense and persistently moving melodies and hypnotic composition.

As someone who has been unaware of WOODS OF DESOLATION and the band members’ former project AUSTERE and LUSTERE, I can’t help but regret of not discovering them any sooner. This band can sound something that I would equate to a monsoon of melodic Post Rock chord movements but given a whole palette of rusty, Metallic colors that it uses to create audio portraits of a cornucopia of emotions. The guitar player and primary songwriter D can play with the listener’s heartstrings just the same as he would play the strings of his guitar, vicariously creating a fifth interactive instrument. The music of WOODS OF DESOLATION actually feels real. You might feel a need to take slow deep inhales while listening to the music on this record or a knot to form at the very back of your throat. A warmth and certainty may start to unfold inside of you while listening to the song “Unfold”, a sensation I think was entirely intentional by D. I mention “Unfold” as an example of what clear lines of communication between the artist and the audience that can be heard on this record. The riffs on “This Autumn Light” have such a magnificent presence that fills the entire room wherever it’s played. There are a multitude of moments like this in “As The Stars” that make this album a great treasure for fans of this kind of depressive Black Metal almost by default. At its best, WOODS OF DESOLATION create a Black Metal sound so awe-inspiring and humungous; it almost makes me completely forget about “Sunbather”. It evokes the sensation of having the most beautiful aspects of depression and the intoxication of solitude. It becomes a soundtrack to something captive and kept in the darkness finally being set free into the air and the light. At its worst, it sounds like a cross between EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY and early ALCEST and that’s still pretty fantastic.

It’s clear that the layering of guitar parts and their various tonal changes are what makes the music on “As The Stars” soar up to astronomical heights. They really do take you on a journey to places that exist only in your imagination and tries to exorcise these fantastic worlds out through your interactivity with the album. The instrumentalisation, like the kind that can be heard on “Anamnesis”, is inspired and has a welcoming atmosphere which is still brooding and aggressive that should seduce lovers of Shoegaze, Post Punk, & Grunge Rock.

Perhaps Black Metal elitists could make an argument that music loses sight of the heritage behind this subgenre due to the melodic nature of the music. And perhaps WOODS OF DESOLATION are not the right band for people who don’t want to have any sensitivity in their Metal, whether that sense of vulnerability is simply implied or deliberately exposed. Perhaps this kind of music would make 1349 and NARGAROTH fans uncomfortable but I get the sense that NARGAROTH fans are uncomfortable regardless of what’s happening with Post Black Metal. This album is not for those people although some 1349 and NARGAROTH fans will dare to be more perceptive as to why this album is a true work of art. Fans of ALCEST, LÍAM, LES DISCRETS, PELICAN, LANTLÔS, DEAFHEAVEN, HERETOIR, & DOPAMINE need to jump on this album as soon as possible. You can also include any fans of the Depressive Black Metal while you’re at it because they’ll definitely find something to love about WOODS OF DESOLATION if they haven’t already.

I really wish WOODS OF DESOLATION had made this record a little bit longer with more songs on it. I thought every single track was marvelous and left me wanting to keep hearing the album over and over again. 

5 Star Rating

1. Like Falling Leaves
2. Unfold
3. And If All The Stars Faded Away
4. This Autumn Light
5. Anamnesis
6. Withering Field
7. Ad Infinitum
D – Guitars
Luke Mills – Bass
Old – Vocals
Vlad – Drums
Record Label: Northern Silence Productions


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