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Dark and dreary, but definitely enjoyable... - 85%

UltimaCX, February 9th, 2012

When you step into an album, especially a metal album, you have different expectations of what you're going to hear. I've been a "metalhead" for years now, with a pretty open mind. When I started listening to "Woods 5" by Woods of Ypres, I was expecting dark and drowning doom metal. This is something you would expect when you see that that is the genre they are given. Doom metal to me is very heavy, drowning with emphasis of the metal. Woods of Ypres and their latest effort really surprised me, giving a new definition to the doom/dark metal genre. Here are my thoughts about this album...

As the first song pours out of the album, it feels kind of mainstream, mostly in the instrumentals. The beat, rhythm, and sound just catch me off guard when I start this album up. "Career Suicide (Is Not Real Suicide)" just gives off a different vibe than what I was expecting. Listening deeper into the song, the lyrics are straight forward and dark in some ways. The second track, "Travelling Alone", doesn't really give off the vibe of mainstream to me, more so kind of in between. At this point I figure out why they are considered doom, even with the combination of the "weird" instrumental composition. The rest of the album definitely doesn't disappoint. "Finality" slows everything down, being the slowest song but definitely not letting up on emotion and darkness. Including a more profound piano and string instruments, this song shows the boundaries this band can push within the genre. The two ending songs are about the only similar sounding songs on the album, as they are "parts". "Kiss My Ashes Goodbye" is basically split up into two songs, the first part being sort of an intro to the ending so to speak.

So first impressions, I find the album pretty enjoyable the first time round. Definitely something different for me to listen to. If you're looking for a hybrid type of doom metal, like what you'd find with Job For A Cowboy or something, you won't really find that here. The singer's voice works very well to the contrast of the sort-of upbeat instrumentals, and you even get a chance to hear some deathy vocals as well. The variation throughout the whole album is actually surprising. There isn't a song that sounds like a filler, each one has its own identity and story. Even with the deep doomy vocals are portraying from the album constantly, you don't feel yourself getting bored at all. The common theme found within the whole album is very interesting, yet dark and real. Death, regret, loneliness, depression, etc. revolve around what this album is.

After several listens, I have to say this album really impressed me. Although to some it may seem very simple and predictable in some aspects, the album is still catchy and very replayable. The contrasts in the album really stood out to me, and I feel that's what helps this band stand out among some of the genre. If you're a fan of Ghost Brigade (like I am) you may be very interested in this band. I also think that this album is something you will have to listen to several times to fully appreciate and understand what it's about.

Favorite Tracks: Travelling Alone, Finality, Death Is Not An Exit, and Kiss My Ashes Goodbye (Part II)

Rating: 8.5/10 - Definitely a great album and would recommend to anyone looking to get settled in this genre. Excellent instrumental, vocals, and production.