Originally written by Ryan Plunkett
From the frozen tundra’s of Ontario arrives Woods of Ypres. Combining elements of old black metal while still doing something original, this band is on the quick road to black metal success. Well, maybe not Cradle of Filth-Dimmu Borgir success, but noteworthy success for the black metal underground.
Despite the fact that this band just formed in May of 2002, they have already released their first ode to the genre entitled Against the Seasons. While following the grim, raw edge of Darkthrone, they combine their own elements of melody and darkness to create one haunting black metal album.
“The Shams of Optimism” is the perfect prelude to the dark tunnel ahead. Combining the high-end black metal sound we’ve all come to know and love, they also incorporate some clean melodic passages which come across really well. The vocals are also done well. Guitarist Brian McManus definitely has the grim black metal vocals down, while bassist Aaron Palmer pulls off some haunting clean vokills.
That leads me into my only real complaint with the album: the drum production. Although the drums are well played, it’s the double kick sound that really bothers me. It has a sound like it’s wants to be dominant, but because the rest of the production is poor, it becomes too dominant, which causes it to lose its affect on the listener. Although it doesn’t always happen, it happened enough to the point where it became a bit of an annoyance, but maybe I’m just being nitpicky.
All in all this is a solid debut from Wood of Ypres.