In The Woods… has always been one of those truly thrilling bands. Their unique take on black metal is well aged and been refined over decades of hard work into something truly special. This is a band who have from the beginning had a very clear artistic vision, one that consistently expands, grows, and hints at weird new heights. They have never been afraid to play by their own rules and they are a band who enjoy the sheer bizarre magic of it all. The group seems to consistently sit down and craft truly great art.
In The Woods… took the initial promise of black metal and turned it into something far greater without ever compromising their values and vision. There are deep and powerful emotions probed on this latest release, Cease The Day, and it stands not just as another gem in their crown, but also as a huge win for their label, the hotshots over at Debemur Morti.
It's important to realize at this point In The Woods…, like their peers in bands like Enslaved, have really shifted away from being a real "black metal" band and instead are now much more of a heavy rock band who are not afraid to nod back to their roots. While there are certainly moments of black metal fury here, as the thrilling bridge of "Respect My Solitude" attests, the band has really pushed more for their powerful deep-throated vocals and transcendent choruses. The rough angular black metal riffs remain punishing and powerful, but the band also is able to lean a lot more heavily on powerful atmospheres and huge guitar sounds.
This is a record that sounds out and out massive, almost as if it is encouraging you to find the limits to the sound and then just pushing beyond them. Not only that though but Cease The Day has some massive hooks. Fist pumping and powerful one is almost reminded of the bombastic breadth of much younger—though now defunct—acts like Woods Of Ypres.
It’s rare that you find a record that is this out and out exciting to listen too in this genre without relying on some gimmick or weird twist in the myth. That’s not to talk bad about any band, but more a statement about how stale this music can get at times. In The Woods… seem to revel in impaling old gods, but still paying tribute to them and recognizing the enduring power they have always had.
With incredibly powerful melodies that borrow from everything from viking metal to prog rock by way of post punk, Cease The Day is an incredibly addictive record. Despite the seeming diversity of sounds represented, the general basis of the group remains consistent and it serves as a reminder of all that this music has been and will be. A group who have stayed with their collective finger on the pulse for decades now, Cease The Day may be In The Woods… greatest artistic statement to date.