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No Thorns In My Side - 90%

Zoanthropic_Paranoia, December 20th, 2007

I was checking my e-mail one afternoon and there in my inbox was an e-mail from some fellow named Domminus. The subject? Metal review. I decided to check it out and thus I came upon Thorny Woods.

The first thing that struck me was their location. I had never heard of a Brazilian black metal band before. This intrigued me and so I downloaded their free demo: Lobrego Macilento Preludio. This was a good choice.

The first thing that should be said of Thorny Woods is their technical prowess, especially on the skins. Brutality in black metal is hard to come by sometimes, but Thorny woods certainly prove that they can be just as brutal as the death metal crowd. Vocally and lyrically the music is par for the course with black metal. Another reviewer mentioned the vocal tone of singer Gaunt Beast being of an early Mayhem tone. I would agree. Some would argue against Mayhem's early vocal style, I however enjoy it and thusly I enjoy Gaunt Beast's vocals on both demo tracks. Nothing overly special to say of Baco, the bands guitarist. The riffs he produces are standard diminished black metal riffs, however it should be noted the few solo passages do exists as well as a nice interlude a little over half way through the track “No Matter”. In whole Thorny Woods is group of solid, capable musicians.

It terms of sheer sound without a focus on one instrument, Thorny Woods produce a wholly evil sound, a great thing for a black metal band. In whole Thorny Woods' demo Lobrego Macilento Preludio may just be their foot in the door of the black metal scene.

A Good Black Present from Brazil! - 79%

CHRISTI_NS_ANITY8, October 22nd, 2007

I didn’t know the existence of a band called Thorny Woods until an e-mail came, sent from the group’s drummer to tell me if I could listen to their demo and give it a review. Well, I said to me: no problem…let’s listen to those songs. I was very, very curious about this band because they come from Brazil, a place far more famous for its thrash/death metal bands than for the black ones.

When I listen to these songs, I immediately paid attention to the group’s violence and obsessive drumming. The brutality level is always high and the drummer is very fast. Their music is more or less similar to the Dark Funeral one: fast blast beats, almost artificial drum sound, fast and evil guitars and suffered vocals.

“Foggy Lands” song is quite good, and even not being so original it shows some black melodies and all the members are very good musicians. Some use of keyboards reminds me early Emperor too. The guitar sound is very, very evil and very good in the production, like shown in “No Matter” song, that after a quite long intro supported by fast bass drums, mixes up tempos to blast beats. The use of chorus in this song is quite good and original. The middle break done by the acoustic guitars slows a bit the march in the darkness operated by these terrorists but after few seconds we return to the completely obscurity with a fast solo and the blast beats.

Sometimes the vocals, even being more original, are too “early Mayhem” oriented in my opinion and since I’m not a fan of that group, I found them a bit too mayhemic and excessive. Sorry, but I prefer the original black metal screams…but it depends on the tastes. Anyway they are quite different and original.

Well, at the end I must say that these tracks are good and I wait for their first album. I hope that some labels show interest in this band, because they deserve it. Good luck Thorny Woods!

"Forget the illusion called life" - 66%

PazuzuZlave, October 18th, 2007

No, that verdict is not symbolic, it just seems to fit. Thorny Woods, a black metal band from Brazil, apparently in their seventh year of existence, sent me an e-mail with download links to this as well as a portfolio containing some samples and info about their upcoming debut album. I checked the portfolio out first, which was a big mistake, because I ended up enjoying that more than this demo, which is a shame taking into consideration what my primary task was. Still, I’ll give this one the honest review it deserves.

10 minutes of chilling, rasping, blistering black metal can only mean good things, right? There are these two actual songs, and one intro. With that little material available on a demo, you cannot lose interest, and you can listen through the thing many times in an hour. I’ve listened to it maybe five-six times now, and I keep reaching the same conclusion. It’s standard. It’s following the same pattern as many, many other bands with the same target group. There’s very little that stands out in any particular way, and wouldn’t it be for the acoustic interlude in “No Matter”, there would just be tempo changes (which also are few) to vary things up a bit. The riffs feel right for a while, and then just proceed to sound dull. However, it doesn’t seem to be random. I get a feeling of thought through patterns of sonic expression, but a little bit more variation than a casual melody here and there would have been nice. In a whole it works surprisingly fine at first, but that’s mainly because the first track is way better than the other one. While “No Matter” may have its moments, the image of a drummer who’s been worn out by endless blasting on the kit, a guitarist who seems to be playing the same riff over hundred times straight and vocals which come in whenever the music itself seems to work at its best, doesn’t quite work for me.

With that said, “Foggy Lands” is a purely positive journey for me. I like the arrangements in this one, especially the chorus, where “Gaunt Beast” shows that he indeed can create some interesting arrangements for his throat to serve as it should. The riffing on this one immediately knocks the other song right out of the park. They use a lot of minor chords which gives it the cold core it deserves. And yeah, they even use brief synth scales at the end of the songs, which adds a bit to its complexity. It’s not much, but enough for me, at least.

If this is a promising demo, or a bleak false hope, only the upcoming album "Dendro Dreams" can show us. From what I was offered to hear (samples), I’d buy it any day I’d find it. I hope this band succeeds, because they deserve it. There’s probably a lot more work behind this demo than I suspect, and credit should be given where credit is due… Not for everyone for sure, but if you feel familiar with the music described, don’t let this one pass since it may save your day.

Pretty good stuff - 70%

Noktorn, October 16th, 2007

The second demo by Thorny Woods is exactly the opposite of what you would expect to come out of the Brazilian black metal scene. The production alone sets it apart tremendously, as it's on par with most Nuclear Blast artists these days. There's nothing raw or unpolished about the music here; it's exactly the sort of thing that SHOULDN'T be coming out from the realm of Sarcófago. Is something lost in that dramatic stylistic shift? Maybe, but if there is, I can't really identify it, because 'Lôbrego Macilento Prelúdio' is a quality piece of black metal, despite defying geographical conventions in a couple different ways.

It's not raw, but it's not overbearingly melodic music either; I suppose the closest thing I could describe it as is a more accessible, less minimalistic, and more clearly modern Taake. There's a lot of blasting and tremolo punctuated by slower double bass or thrash beat sections, but the melodies are actually quite Norwegian in nature, almost like something that Dark Funeral would write. The vocals are surprisingly emphasized; in this case, a throaty scream that isn't quite as severely distorted as most BM artists, as if it was a quarter clean or so. It's not very atmospheric, despite how carefully keyboards are introduced and how artfully the riffs interconnect; it's rather sterile at times, actually. A lot of the parts just sort of connect without really giving a greater meaning to the overall composition. That doesn't mean they don't connect in a pleasing manner, though. Everything SOUNDS very good. All the instruments are professionally played and all the riffs are at least pretty decent. I actually enjoy the vocals a good deal; it's nice to hear something different from the typical black metal rasp from time to time.

The drumming is quite nice, if rather binary most of the time, but the occasional bit of double bass play spices things up, as well as some Mayhemesque cymbal work. There's not a lot of content on this little promo: only two real tracks plus an intro, though the 'real' songs do feel much longer than they actually are for some reason (actually not a negative thing in this case). For what it is, though, it's an enjoyable listen. It's not especially different from other black metal out today, but it is a rather unique example of black metal from South America, and it would probably appeal to most fans of modern BM out there today. I'll be looking forward to the band's upcoming LP; the material on this demo is promising at the very least.

Not bad - 76%

WilliamAcerfeltd, October 8th, 2007

Firstly, let me say I had never heard of Thorny Woods until the drummer personally emailed me asking me to review this album. Metal from South America is usually pretty shit and can be effectively summarised this way: decent vocals, fast riffs and constant blast beating. This would usually result in good black metal, the problem is, these bands cannot write a riff for shit and hence the music, albeit well played, sucks.

However, Thorny Woods seemed to be a bit of an exception to this rule. The band hails from Brazil, so I kind of knew what to expect and to be honest, thought the music would be the usual South American crap. As for the music, the production in this music is raw, which didn't really surprise me seeing as this is how most South American bands have it. As stated above the music is fast riffing with blast beats and pretty decent vocals. The difference here is that the riffing is actually decent and probably had some thought go into it, nothing headbangable, but it's still decent enough to make you listen to the whole song, not just the first minute. It was also good to notice this band isn't doing the same old satanic crap, which has been done to death. The Woods theme is a bit cheesy but its a huge improvement on the very banal Satanic theme.

All in all, this is solid, decent black metal which could really amount to something if everything goes right for the band. It's nothing original, but it still makes for a good listen if you've got the time.

Conclusion: The above is recommended for download or purchase, if you can find it that is.