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Mediocre at best - 20%

The Crazy Old School Music Fan, August 11th, 2017

I used to like this album for some reason and think very highly of it. I don't know if it was because I was into this style more a year ago or why, because now I can barely get through the entire album without getting very annoyed. After re-listening to this, hoping that I could see why I used to enjoy this album, did not help its' case; in fact, it made my pure detestation of this release all the more prevalent.

This album starts on a somewhat good note with some very folkish rhythms wrapped in a decent melodic black metal style. The vocals, on the first track, are probably the strongest on the entire release, as is the instrumentation. Then, after the first song, I probably like about 2 minutes of the next track before it descends into mediocrity. However, after that I like some bits and pieces (the chorus of the first part of "The Sun Was In My Eyes" in particular), but nothing really sticks out to me besides the harmonic female vocals in the last track of this after the first 5 minutes of the album.

I can see what this band was trying to do; they were trying to take the formula that Agalloch created on "Pale Folklore" (which was itself Bergtatt worship) and fuse it with a more accessible style like that Iron Maiden created (and perfected) on their mid-80s recordings such as Powerslave. However, while those bands are great, this album falls flat on its' face. Woods of Ypres obviously has talented musicians, but they are not suited to play this style, as it ends up sounding more on the formulaic rock side of folk metal than the black/folk metal side that bands like Ulver made. The guitar and bass riffs, when not just droning on forever, actually do have some decent parts, and the drumming isn't bad either, especially the blasts on this album. However, while they aren't bad, they aren't exactly good either.

Then there are the vocals. While David Gold isn't a bad vocalist when doing melodic singing, he is terrible at black metal growls (which is basically what he does here). His growls sound contrived and absolutely terrible, but he is obviously trying to copy Agalloch in this aspect. It is a shame that he fails at this though, because if his harsh vocals were as good as his melodic singing, that could've helped made this album better.

Overall, the high points here are the first 5 minutes of the album and David Gold's singing. Otherwise, this album largely fails to impress me in any other way and, instead, makes me want to turn it off halfway through and just listen to better bands. I haven't tried the rest of the releases this band did in quite a while. However, after listening to this, I really can't be bothered to do so. Listen to Pale Folklore and Bergtatt instead and just forget this band exists.