Originally written by Ian Dreilinger.
Simply hearing the name In The Woods should evoke some sort of response from any self respecting person with any knowledge of metal. It’s usually either a response of love or hate, there’s not much middle ground with this band. Based on that, I doubt this series of In The Woods reissues will draw in more than a handful of new fans. It would be one thing if they were remastered to such a degree that they absolutely blew the originals out of the water, but the fact is they don’t really sound that much better. Still, I’m in the group that loves the band and these reissues sound as good now as upon their original releases.
Omnio, in particular, is (in my opinion, unarguably) their best album and likely the finest album in the heavily under populated genre of epic progressive black metal (or whatever the hell genre this is, it’s hard to pinpoint). With five songs spanning over an hour, this is certainly epic. The title song, spanning the final three tracks, totals over 25 minutes, not a second of which is boring. And, of course, none of the rest of the songs are boring either. I’d go so far as to say that opener “297 796 Km/S” is undoubtedly a classic in extreme music and somewhere rather high in my list of greatest songs ever.
Though I’m extremely fond of this album, I do have to say that it certainly requires the correct mindset for proper listening. Often the operatic vocals are over the top, the melodies grandiose, and the overall arrangements quite pompous. These would all be bad things if they couldn’t pull it off, but they did indeed pull it off, very well I might add. But, if you’re feeling like listening to something not so challenging and adventurous, as I often am, this is absolutely not the record for you. I wouldn’t say that this paragraph is any sort of a complaint, though. It’s more of a warning label of sorts to ensure that this album isn’t cheated out of a possible fan who just happens to be in the wrong mood.
In The Woods’ Omnio goes as highly recommended now as it did when I heard it for the first time, who knows how many years ago. If you haven’t already heard it and aren’t already familiar with the band, I can already tell you there are only two possible responses you’ll have to this record. You’ll find that it’s something you enjoy or you’ll despise it upon first listen and never give it another thought. I’ve certainly found that it’s been worth any time and effort taken to assimilate this album and it’s become a timeless classic because of it.