Friday, March 14, 2014

Woods of Desolation - As the Stars (2014)
Following their masterful 2011 release "Torn Beyond Reason," Woods of Desolation's "As the Stars" is a more than worthy successor, even if they decided to go in a different direction this time around. Whereas the former exudes darkness and melancholy, this one is much like Deafheaven's "Sunbather" in that it's emotional, joyful, and utterly captivating. The riffs, melodies, and vocals are all out to make a bold, triumphant statement about life and they all do a fantastic job of it. Unlike Alcest's most recent album which did away with metal elements (not that that's a bad thing by any means), WoD decided to blend black metal with post-rock and shoegaze in about equal proportions. It may not have the intricacy or concept-album feel that "Sunbather" has, but it does have just as much passion, intensity, and beauty. It's an extraordinary journey that is both brutal and dark as well as uplifting and utterly gorgeous. As of now, I can only see this album being rivaled by the upcoming Agalloch release in terms of best black metal albums of 2014.

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