Woods Of Desolation
As The Stars

NSP 119 :  Woods Of Desolation - As The Stars DigiCD/LP

  

Release dates:
DigiCD: February 14th, 2014
CD: June 20th, 2014
LP: March 2014


  

Thanks to Lightfox for uploading the videos!


"As The Stars" is the new album from Woods Of Desolation, by now probably Australia's premier Depressive Black Metal band.

On this 3rd album, mastermind D. on guitars, with the help of session members (Vlad from Drudkh on drums, Luke Mills from Nazxul and Pestilential Shadows on bass, and Old from Drohtnung on vocals), continues the musical direction which was begun on "Toward The Depths" and refined on the very successful "Torn Beyond Reason".

Fans of the band will be pleased to hear that the main ingredients as well as the songwriting are similar to those on W.O.D.'s excellent sophomore album - haunting, melodic and intense Depressive Black Metal, delving further into melancholy and the essence of personal expression through music, which may occasionally remind the listener of another of Australia's finest, AUSTERE, as well as ALCEST, and perhaps "Brave Murder Day"-era KATATONIA.

The 1st press of the CD comes in gold-printed digipack and golden disc with exclusive artwork from Lucas Ruggieri, and is limited to 1881 copies.
181 of these came with 1.5" high quality logo metal pin and logo sticker, sealed in a black, handnumbered envelope [sold out with pre-orders].

The LP comes with gatefold jacket, A2 poster and, due to the high demand, in four different editions:

"Spirit Essence"-Edition : 111x gold vinyl + CD (listening copy) and logo metal pin (same as the limited CD version)
"Purple Crown"-Edition : 222x purple vinyl
"Tunnel at the End of the Light"-Edition : 333x black in clear vinyl
"Journey's End"-Edition : 333x black vinyl

The "Spirit Essence" and "Purple Crown" editions will only be available from the Northern Silence shop while stock lasts.

Tracklist:

1. Like Falling Leaves 5:06
2. Unfold 5:00
3. And If All The Stars Faded Away 4:41
4. This Autumn Light 4:20
5. Anamnesis 4:11
6. Withering Field 6:11
7. Ad Infinitum 5:14



Websites:

Official Facebook page
Official Bandcamp page



Reviews:

"There are bands which have a unique talent to experiment and to evolve – one of those is the Australian project Woods of Desolation. From a raw depressive thing with “Towards the Depths” (2008) going through a beautiful canvas of nostalgia and loss with “Torn Beyond Reason” (2011), Woods of Desolation presents us the brand new “As the Stars”. Listening to the opener “Like Falling Leaves” isn’t an extreme novelty since that track is similar to the way “Torn Beyond Reason” was created. However, D.’s trademark will evolve into another type of soundscapes that I wasn’t aware that could happen. This record is lined by a post-rock journey that is led by a new element in Woods of Desolation menu: the echoed lead guitar. That guitar is always present in order to conduct the songs and to pierce on us the cruelest feelings of loss and despair. In spite of the dark vein, “As the Stars” also has rock incursions like in the instrumental “Anamnesis” that escalates into a passage of nostalgic climax where the lead guitar is the number one attraction. The fast drumming couldn’t be forgotten and the guest Vlad, from Drudkh, delivers a passage of that kind in “And If All the Stars Faded Away”. “Ad Infinitum” is the last track and mirrors what Woods of Desolation can offer us during the recent past and the infinite future: an epic track full of post-rock and shoegaze influences that may take you off of depressive paths into bright fields of inner-reflection giving you the feeling that something or someone is missing in your life."
(8/10  Against Magazine)

"Tristesse und Hoffnungslosigkeit waren die Gefühle, die WOODS OF DESOLATIONs Musik in der Vergangenheit beim Hörer ausgelöst haben. Drei Jahre nach dem grandiosen „Torn Beyond Reason“ machen sich D. (das mittlerweile einzig feste Mitglied der Band) erneut auf, um die Abgründe der menschlichen Existenz zu vertonen. An der Stilistik wurde dabei wenig verändert [...] Standen auf der 2011er Veröffentlichung weite Klangflächen im Vordergrund, konzentriert man sich auf „As The Stars“ deutlich mehr auf abwechslungsreiche Songstrukturen. [...] In Sachen Produktion haben sich WOODS OF DESOLATION ein weiteres Mal verbessert. Eine glasklare Produktion klingt natürlich anders, der leicht verwaschene, auf die Gitarrenarbeit fokussierte Mix ist der Stimmung des Albums aber allemal zuträglich. Ob das kompaktere Songwriting „As The Stars“ zu einem besseren Album als „Torn Beyond Reason“ macht ist schwer zu sagen. WOODS OF DESOLATION beleuchten anno 2014 eine andere Facette ihres Schaffens, präsentieren das melodischste Material ihrer Karriere. Wer Angst hat, die Emotionalität der Musik würde dadurch verloren gehen, kann beruhigt sein, denn D. gelingt es mit dem leicht veränderten Ansatz vollends zu überzeugen."
(www.allschools.de)

8.5/10 - www.crossfire-metal.de

"The third full-length release from Australia's Woods of Desolation is as much stargaze as it is blackgaze. As The Stars is a strange, shimmering musical beast, with moments of delicate, stunning beauty suddenly giving way to huge, soaring soundscapes; it's a record as subtle and intricate as it is powerful. The LP plays carefully and intelligently with overwhelming emotion as a creative palette, clearly influenced by French magicians Alcest, but their compositions are more broad-stroke and sweeping, more actively adventurous than wandering and exploratory. [...] It's a devastating record from an emotional standpoint; while a lot of metal merely seeks to rend or pummel, Woods of Desolation want to leave you emotionally wrecked. Heart-rending, arterial and woundingly authentic, As The Stars is a hell of a record to drop on Valentine's day."
(9/10 - www.exclaim.ca)

"„As The Stars“ ist die Offenbarung. Diese entschleunigte, melancholische Atmosphäre aus Nebel, Feuchtigkeit und Dunkelheit kriecht schnell unter die Haut, die Füße bleiben trotzdem warm. Das liegt an solchen wunderbaren Bridges, wie der in ‚This Autumn Light’, hypnotisch ein Riff repetierend und sanft mit Piano unterlegt. Oder an einem Instrumental, wie ‚Anamnesis’, das eine kleine WOODS OF DESOLATION-Tradition von stimmlosen Songs fortführt. Schließlich an einer Mixtur von Einflüssen zwischen den seligen Finnen von Vordven und, ja, einmal mehr: Alcest. Keine Frage: der Australier und seine Mitstreiter [...] kochen ihr eigenes Süppchen. Trotzdem werden sich Fans der Franzosen in diese Scheibe schnell verlieben. Kaufen, bevor der Frühling kommt!"
(11/15 - Legacy Mag)

"...on this one, I even have to wonder how depressive most people are going to find the album because it feels so utterly bathed in light. It feels like an album that’ll work perfectly with the coming days of spring, as we in the States crawl out of our frozen death and into new possibilities. I say all of this very positively, by the way, because I think the record is an absolute stunner. This is the best thing Woods of Desolation ever released, and even if it isn’t meant to feel brighter than their previous work, you can’t avoid that sentiment. It’s one hell of a great twist to the band. [...] “As the Stars” is a record you should go out of your way to hear, and even if it is darkness you seek, you might find that a little light is good for the soul."
(www.meatmeadmetal.wordpress.com)

"Musikalisch bleibt bei dem Projekt aus dem Ort mit dem schönen Namen Wollongong auch sonst alles beim Alten: Verwaschene Gitarrenwände, verwunschene Melodien und viel Melancholie kreieren auch auf „As The Stars“ die für WOODS OF DESOLATION typische Atmosphäre. Die Songs gehen dabei fast fließend in einander über und erzeugen so eine in sich geschlossene Atmosphäre, die von der ersten bis zur letzten Note nicht abreißt. Zwar finden sich auf dem Vorgänger in der Einzelbetrachtung vielleicht die stärkeren Hits bei ähnlicher atmosphärischer Dichte, als Gesamtwerk funktioniert jedoch auch „As The Stars“."
(8/10 - www.metal1.info)

"From the first seconds, you realize that WOODS OF DESOLATION haven’t changed at all and the production is just perfect for albums like this. Throughout the album the guitar riffs express feelings like nostalgia, sorrow, darkness and solitude as they reach perfection. I am impressed in how the music is changing tempo between the tracks; first there is the speedy “Like Falling Leaves” and then comes the epic and mid-tempo “Unfold” with extraordinary guitar playing. The technical “And If All The Stars Faded Away” carries nostalgia that is perfectly balanced with harsh vocals, while “This Autumn Light” bears some beautiful guitar melodies. In “Anamnesis”, the riffs will remind of the early days of the European atmospheric Metal bands like KATATONIA while the mid-tempo “Withering Field” proudly wears the nostalgic Black Metal colors especially after 1’:50’’ where everything seems to be on fire. The last but not least “Ad Infinitum” drops the curtain with excellent guitar work and a lovely atmosphere that will surround you immediately. [...]“As The Stars” is a remarkable depressive Black Metal album and is highly recommended to everyone who has a sweet tooth for this kind of Black Metal."
(8/10 - www.metalkaoz.com)

8.4/10 - www.metalship.org

"...this album a great treasure for fans of this kind of depressive Black Metal almost by default. At its best, WOODS OF DESOLATION create a Black Metal sound so awe-inspiring and humungous; it almost makes me completely forget about “Sunbather”. It evokes the sensation of having the most beautiful aspects of depression and the intoxication of solitude. It becomes a soundtrack to something captive and kept in the darkness finally being set free into the air and the light. At its worst, it sounds like a cross between EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY and early ALCEST and that’s still pretty fantastic. [...] Fans of ALCEST, LÍAM, LES DISCRETS, PELICAN, LANTLÔS, DEAFHEAVEN, HERETOIR, & DOPAMINE need to jump on this album as soon as possible. You can also include any fans of the Depressive Black Metal while you’re at it because they’ll definitely find something to love about WOODS OF DESOLATION if they haven’t already. I really wish WOODS OF DESOLATION had made this record a little bit longer with more songs on it. I thought every single track was marvelous and left me wanting to keep hearing the album over and over again."
(10/10 - www.metal-temple.com)

"Now with their third release, As The Stars, Woods of Desolation have put to tape their most uplifting and affecting record yet. Yes, it still brims with the aching wails and cold tremolo picking that have always defined black metal as a whole, but now a hopeful freedom surfaces from that darkness. As The Stars is awash in glorious post-rock style crescendos, major key octaves, and a warm production that opens it up to a whole new set of emotional pulls. It’s an astounding work for a band who have only continued to push how we as fans think of black metal as a whole. [...] As The Stars is a stunning example of how even the smallest change in perspective can spur growth in ways once never though imaginable, but even at their most inventive they never forget who they are."
(4/5 - www.newnoisemagazine.com)

"2011’s Torn Beyond Reason presented a significant leap in scope and song-craft, tightening the screws a bit more and implementing more varied and kinetic riffs to shake up the monotony. But that refinement has only reached its zenith with As The Stars, as the album's winding, radiant riffs bring about new levels of luminescence and triumph that are as far from corpse-paint territory as one could imagine. Sure, there’s plenty of searing distortion and tremolo-picking, but the light vs. dark epic-ness of Unfold and the colossal riffs of And if the Stars Fade Away introduce entirely new color pallets to bring a drama and weight to their sound that few black metal bands effectively master. But what really helps As The Stars stand out so triumphantly over most of its contemporaries is how unbelievably structured everything feels. [...] what you will find on As The Stars are seven dynamic, concise, and uniquely shaded songs that are intense, memorable, and dare I say even catchy at times. [...] it’s incredible to see an artist, especially one who’s been around for a while and evolved, boil down the black metal formula into something so immediate and well-defined while making it just as epic and harrowing as what most artists require double the track length to achieve."
(8/10 - www.noripcord.com)

"Post rock’s trademark tremulous builds and joyous crashing crescendos make up a huge part of the seven compositions, lending a triumphal feel to the overarching despair. Shades of Katatonia’s mournful benchmark Brave Murder Day swim through the gloomy buildup on “This Autumn Light” and “Withering Field”, while D unabashedly recalls Alcest’s earliest, finest work with many of his more grandiose moments. Seminal Australian depressives Austere leave a mark as well, but given that two members have also played in Woods of Desolation at various points, it could almost be seen as more of a continuation than an outright homage."
(8/10 - www.pitchfork.com)

"...nach drei Jahren Wartezeit dürfen sich Jünger der depressiven Klänge mit Recht auf das neue Werk "As The Stars" freuen! Prinzipiell geht es in den Veröffentlichungen des begnadeten Künstlers nicht darum, trauriger oder düsterer zu werden, und so sehe ich "As The Stars" als eine gute Fortsetzung von "Torn Beyond Reason". Wer sich bereits mit den vorherigen Alben anfreunden konnte, wird auch hier wieder Depressiv-Black-Metal vom Feinsten erleben. [...] Gerade die ruhigeren Songs, wie 'Unfold' und 'Like Falling Leaves' erinnern mich ein bisschen an die früheren Alben ihrer französischen Kollegen von ALCEST. Die Magie, die den Herren heute fehlt, scheint WOODS OF DESOLATION mühelos einzufangen und wiedergeben zu können. "As The Stars" setzt an der Stelle an, wo "Torn Beyond Reason" aufgehört hat. Im Strom der unendlichen musikalischen Vielfalt kann man sich glücklicherweise noch auf Bands wie diese verlassen!"
(9.5/10 - www.powermetal.de)

"Australian black metal band Woods of Desolation have returned with their third full-length, a melancholic and hauntingly blissful experience known as “As the Stars”. This is an album that can soar in many directions and remain interesting throughout its 34 minutes due to the variation in the instrumentation and captivating song-writing. [...] As the Stars is a bleak album that has a lot of beauty residing in its unwelcoming and melancholic realm. The greatest way to experience this album is to make sure that you have no distractions, and let every sound move you. This album goes beyond being a standard black metal album, and brings itself to many emotional heights without forgetting to carry the listener with it."
(9/10 - www.riseabovetheanchor.com)

"Aber auch musikalisch hat sich "Woods Of Desolation" ein wenig weiterentwickelt, ohne dabei aber die Charakteristiken der alten Veröffentlichungen aufzugeben. Im Gesamten wirkt das Album noch melodischer und verspielter und die Gitarren stehen durch die etwas bessere Produktion noch mehr im Vordergrund. Das leicht verwaschene, raue Klangbild wurde so ein wenig modernisiert, wirkt aber immer noch erdig und verzichtet auf große Effekthascherei. [...] So ist "As The Stars" das mit Abstand eingängigste, rundeste und konzeptionell schlüssigste Werk von "Woods Of Desolation"."
(9/10 - www.rottinghill.at)

"The buried vocals feel painful in their anguished cries, while the uplifting riffs in tracks like “Withering Field” or "This Autumn Light" reveal a blissful side to the suffering. It’s all about the clashing of moods, the dual presence of crushing depression and sincere hopefulness that gives As The Stars a third dimension that most traditional and post-black metal records alike cannot begin to conceive due to their blindness of the other side. [...] As The Stars is an album for the wide black metal audience, because it shows how bands don’t always have to choose a side and then put up blinders to the world around them. Things can be integrated, but only insofar as the breadth of a band’s musical vision and their talent in transcribing that vision into their songwriting. Woods of Desolation are more than adept at both."
(4/5 - www.sputnikmusic.com)

"In December’s Black Market, I mentioned As The Stars — the remarkable forthcoming LP from Australian band Woods Of Desolation — as being one of the most exciting releases of early 2014, as well as my favorite album of the very young year. It’s only been two weeks, but as of today, it’s the one to beat. That’s no small praise — As The Stars is already up against some stiff competition, yet the more time I spend with it, the more impressive it grows in my estimation. [...] Unlike many other post-rock-influenced black metal albums, As The Stars feels ragged and lo-fi, somewhat belying — or at least attempting to obscure — the songs’ breathtaking magnitude. But these melodies would be instantly audible and ear-catching under a hiss-fog much denser than this; these peaks are simply higher than any clouds that might surround them. At seven songs over 34 minutes, As The Stars may appear to be a brief album, but those songs are filled with highlights, and in those minutes time appears to stop, or fast-forward, or rush outward in every direction, demanding rewinds and replays and slack-jawed awe; in fact, it is nothing short of massive."
(www.stereogum.com)

"Mit As The Stars knüpfen die Australier nahtlos an die vorangegangene Veröffentlichung "Torn Beyond Reason", die die Anfang 2011 erschienen ist, an. [...] Obwohl fast 3 Jahre vergangen sind hat sich nicht viel verändert. Woods of Desolation stürzen sich immer noch in ein Meer voller Trauer, Melancholie und Depressionen. [...] Fazit: Wer bis jetzt nichts mit DSBM anfangen konnte, könnte hier durch einige (meiner Meinung nach) Genre untypische Titel ein Ohr riskieren. Fans diverser Bands alá Drowning The Light oder Abyssic Hate, können hier bedenkenlos zugreifen und kommen voll auf Ihre Kosten."
(www.sturmglanz.de)

"Haunting melodies dance around D.’s guitar work as Old’s vocals send chills down your spine. This album is instrumentally flawless from the transitions of feeling from song to song to the raw emotion felt in each track, this album is the epitome of what depressive black metal should sound like."
(5/5 - www.themetalfoundry.com)

"Véritable fresque d’automne, As The Stars est une balade à travers les allées d’un parc un jour de novembre. Pas à pas, à mesure que le décor extérieur défile, certains souvenirs et émotions enfouies refont surface. Le rempart contre la mélancolie se fissure peu à peu... Le serrement de cœur est inéluctable."
(9/10 - www.thrashocore.com)

"As the Stars is what you could call an accessible album. With song lengths of six minutes or under, which lies on the much shorter side for atmospheric black metal, and a total running time of 35 minutes, the album is a casual fun listen with its more than ever uplifting soundscapes. [...] it’s an easy and enjoyable listen that could serve as a great gateway into the genre for fans unfamiliar with atmospheric black metal."
(8/10 - www.welovemetal.com)


Interviews:

www.metal1.info
www.metal-sound.net
www.scholomance-webzine.com

www.thrashocore.com