When black metal started branching out into progressive and avant-garde territories in the mid-90s, the vastly different routes bands took were a sign of how many different and seemingly contradictory energies were fused in the Norwegian scene’s molten core. While the likes of Ved Buens Ende, Arcturus, Dødheimsgard and Sølefald took futuristic and clinically angular routes, Having made a break from Green Carnation, Kristiansand’s In The Woods…, took the nature-aligned aspect of BM down a warmer, pastoral pastoral path that’s resonated across the entire underground metal lansdscape since.
Using the term ‘pagan metal’, long before it came to mean re-enactment dress, In The Woods…’ three 90s albums, were in tune with the changing of the seasons, still with fierce, bristling undertow, but blown into ever more expansive territories.
Having split in 2000, In The Woods… understated, if welcome, reunion 14 years later finally bore fruit with the release of 2016’s Pure. With Ewigkeit’s James Fogarty taking over the reins on vocals, it lived up to expectations and more, reining in some of the more off-kilter elements of their last record, 1999’s Strange In Stereo, but with all the heart-heavy gravitas of yore, wrought yet more finely by the passage of time.
Proving that the band’s creative energies are still fully stoked, a follow-up, entitled Cease The Day, is looming over the horizon, due for release on November 23 via Debemur Morti. Triumphant in terms of quality, if not the despondent yet emboldening emotions coursing throughout, Cease The Day is a vast and far-sighted undertaking, and we have a special preview in the gorgeous, fevered and eye-misting form of the album’s opening track, Empty Streets. Still very much keyed into ITW’s black metal roots, it’s a song that covers a huge amount of sonic and spiritual ground over nine minutes, within which time flows along its own, absorbingly scenic course.
Stock up on provisions and embark on the journey that is Empty Streets below!
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And pre-order Cease The Day here (opens in new tab)!