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Swansong. - 75%

Andromeda_Unchained, March 23rd, 2012

Fourth full-length for Woods of Ypres, and possibly their last due to the untimely death of David Gold late last year, although time will tell. It's weird when listening to this, as it does actually feel like David's swansong and his performance is undoubtedly passionate.

Sounding like a veritable mix of Edge of Sanity, Katatonia, and Agalloch seasoned with some post-black metal and doom sensibility, Woods of Ypres boast a sound which certainly has cross-over appeal. The melodies are very well done here, and ring genuine emotion. In fact, I would say this verges on beautiful in places, especially across the later tracks on the album; "Alternate Ending" stands out as particularly poignant, and really is a first class song.

There isn't that much left in the way of black metal in the band's sound, and there are certainly some post-rock elements that are going to put off purists. "Adora Vivos" brings the most to the table in terms of aggression, complete with blasting and violent riffs. However it is in tracks such as "Lightning & Snow" or "Career Suicide (is not real suicide)" that shows Woods of Ypres at their very best, the former of which is stupendous in its arrangement, and the latter being ridiculously catchy, reminiscent of something Dan Swano would write, although the lyrics do verge on pedestrian.

If this were to be the band's final album then I would say they went out on a high note. Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light is a quality selection of songs, and I'm sure fans of the band will enjoy this one madly. There's a lot going on here and the album is without a doubt a worthy investment of time.

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