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Woods of Belial runs a high risk of being known as the oddball side project of the Sorvali brothers, a tumour on the side of Moonsorrow. But whatever the genre of this little oddity might be, it's definitely not a sidekick of Moonsorrow. No, while Moonsorrow already had two full-lengths under its belt when Deimos XIII was released, it's a rather valid claim to say that the work on Woods of Belial was done before Moonsorrow's real breakthrough. This band is an entity of its own, and despite the shared creative resources with the better-known band of the Sorvalis, Woods of Belial is not to be considered an experimentation by established artists. No, it's an original piece of work, and so far removed from the other works of the brothers that the band shoul indeed be introduced to newbies without a bias-inducing mention of the other band. The album is not an easy thing to listen to. The music is desolate, echoing, and heavily ambient industrial metal. Comparing the sound to other artists is difficult, but perhaps a simpler, more industrially oriented The Axis of Perdition without samplings could work, and of the less-known artists, the local Apocryphal Voice might be a closer comparison. In any case, the riffing and drumming are minimal, the keyboards ethereal, and the atmosphere dreamlike. The synths weave a layer of ambience and add some disturbing horror movie soundtrack on top of the whole. The industrially straightforward guitar and drum work combine with two layers of synths, and the production makes the whole sound detatched; you are locked in a room in an abandoned industrial building, and whatever is producing the sound is in the assembly hall next to your little holding cell. You can hear everything that takes place, but there's a drywall between you and the source of the sound, and it damps down the individual instruments, the vocals and the lyrics. The result is a thick pulsating matress of sound, leaking through the wall with the intention of smothering you, but still far enough to sound more ominous than actually threatening. The metal has been dipped into a vat of thick, viscous ambient coating, and the aggression has been covered with a blanket of minimalism, strange and scary emotions and distant alien sounds. There is anger on the bottom, but the whole has been turned into a muffled scream of pain by the ingenious production. The stuff of mechanical nightmares in the distance, in other words. In a more concise form, this is industrial metal blended with a really hefty dose of very dark ambient. The whole works on a single level: atmosphere. Individual instruments on this album never do anything noteworthy, and there are very few special spots worth mentioning on the 51 minutes of music. No, this is a piece of work that needs to be ingested as a holistic experience. It is a procession of strangeness, and as the oddity disappears into the ambience of the last track, the topmost memory of the album is simultaneously tempting and foreboding. It's hard to listen to, even harder to like, but it has a characteristic that makes you want to listen to it again. It's like a rewarding nightmare, an adrenaline rush you won't find in an amusement park, and an otherworldly experience that leaves much to be digested. Forget everything you know about the musical portfolio of the Sorvali brothers, and listen to this if you enjoy industrial metal and dark ambient with a heavy crushing feeling. This album is not to be enjoyed, it's to be experienced. Recommended with a caveat to the reader. Napero, Metal-archives.com

Pays d'origineFinlande
Style de musiqueDoom Metal

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