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In The Woods... - Pure (2016) - Review

Band: In The Woods...
Album title: Pure
Release date: 16 September 2016
Label: Debemur Morti Productions

01. Pure
02. Blue Oceans Rise (Like A War)
03. Devil's At The Door
04. The Recalcitrant Protagonist
05. The Cave Of Dreams
06. Cult Of Shining Stars
07. Towards The Black Surreal
08. Transmission KRS
09. This Dark Dream
10. Mystery Of The Constellations

One of the most prestigious and mythical acts coming from Nordic lands, In The Woods..., is back people, yes, the legendary Norwegian band which was silent for 17 long years, considered dead by many but absolutely not forgotten by those who still remember the magical sound of epic proportions from their first three albums, Heart Of The Ages (1995), Omnio (1997) and Strange In Stereo (1999). In The Woods... in 2016 consists of core members Anders Kobro (drums), twin brothers Christopher and Christian Botteri (bass and guitar). They were joined by English musician James Fogarty aka Mr. Fog (vocals, guitars and keys). The new album was completed already in 2015, but the band waited for the right time to release it and it seems that nothing could be more appropriate than the days right before the autumn starts. In The Woods... brings magic, once again they created a sonically provoking album of epic proportions which resonates maybe more than any other album released recently.

Pure is simply another masterpiece made by In The Woods..., even though all of their albums are different there is and was always present an element that we can't miss and is a trademark In The Woods..., some musicians just have that necessary spell when it comes to compositions, to create magic. This collection of 10 tracks is not just a lean on the past works, yes there are elements taken from all of their past albums, especially the addictive songs grounded in strain of epic, atmospheric and psychedelic blackened prog-doom the band mined for their ultimate masterpiece Omnio, there's also present that melancholic and depressive atmosphere from Strange In Stereo, but there's more, In The Woods... showed that they can be contemporary, modern and intriguing without losing any of the splendour that made them who they are in the past. On Pure the band is marvelously fusing cosmic metal vibes with dark elements, doom, avantgarde and progressive song structures that easily take the listener into the worlds unknown.

So it's time to close your eyes and being pulled from everydays comfort zone and going to discover where this dark divinity of mind engulfing sublime chaos and order takes you. Even if the songs are not that lenghty, the longest one is the magnificient atmospheric and cinematic instrumental "Transmission KRS", which clocks in around 11 minutes, others are from 5 to 7 minutes long, everything still sounds so epic, the band knows the key how to create spacey and absolutely haunting ambiance with their rich, dense and sometimes even soothing sound. The dynamics are on a very high level here, but still, don't be misguided, Pure is a demanding listen, it's difficult to grasp everything already at the very first listen because many hidden layers that unveil at every consequent spin slowly conjure the complete picture.

The instrumental side of of this album is top-notch, guitars are dense, powerful and massive rhythmic line, amazing keys that add some kind of a multidimensional sound, even vocals by James Fogarty have nothing to hide in front of their former vocalist Jan Kenneth Transeth. I miss some more female vocals here and there like the band utilized in the past, but those captivating guitar melodies are so irresistible that you almost won't believe your ears, just listen to the dramatic anthem "This Dark Dream" or to so very dramatic "The Recalcitrant Protagonist" and discover how much is going on in one single track. In The Woods... nicely implement into their music organ keys and by doing this those parts where utilized get a bit of 70s progressive/psychedelic scent, thus making everything even more addictive. There's even a slight folkish addition here and there, but not a traditional one, an original one that lives deeply rooted inside some parts, just like a call, a string of Nordic ancestors reaching for glory in the otherworld. Not to forget almost real Black Sabbath inspired doom metal parts which nicely converge with more organic metal riffing.

Pure is as well quite emotional and melancholic, it's a pretty dark album, very cinematic, and all those things are so well balanced that rarely any band can put everything in such an order to make it so very floating and at the same time also being exploratory. In the case of In The Woods... you can sense musical freedom and it's nothing strange that here and there some atmospheric elements can remind even to Pink Floyd, others to King Crimson or even Genesis, but overall this is an intense metal record with no boundaries and it should keep you occupied for quite some time. All I can say in the end is that I'm glad to see this legendary band returning after so many years with such an adventurous, almost mythical album and mesmerizing sound, a masterpiece that will almost for sure gain a cult status like every other In The Woods... album so far. The band has evolved, matured, the unit revelling in the pleasures of restraint. The mind-chaos of youth has transmogrified into the dark divinity of wisdom that only experience can bring - a welcome respite in times of ephemeral pleasures and hyperactive multiplicities.

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 9,5/10