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In The Woods... - Cease The Day (2018) - Review

Band: In The Woods...
Album title: Cease The Day
Release date: 23 November 2018
Label: Debemur Morti Productions

01. Empty Streets
02. Substance Vortex
03. Respect My Solitude
04. Cloud Seeder
05. Still Yearning
06. Strike Up With The Dawn
07. Transcending Yesterdays
08. Cease The Day

After the long hiatus of almost 15 years and then the strepitous return in 2016 with the magnificient album Pure, now the Norwegian legends In The Woods..., one of the first bands who used the name "pagan metal" to describe their music, is back with their fifth full-lenght named Cease The Day. Even though that it's difficult to talk about the same band anymore, because now, after the departure of Botteri brothers, the only member from the original line-up is the drummer Anders Kobro. Together with James Fogarty aka Mr. Fog (vocals, guitars, bass and keys), who is now beside Kobro the only regular member since the Pure album, the two with the help of guitarists Bernt Sørensen and Kåre Sletteberg, created an album that, huh, has it's memorable moments.

Cease The Day offers a lot from a musical point of view, just like every In The Woods... album before, but unfortunately it can't compete with anything they did in the past, maybe it's because of the fact that Botteri's left, the album suffers of inconsistency, and if Pure was a masterpiece, this one is just good. In here the band which is known for their eclectic style of metal, like we are used from them still nicely blends progressive metal with epic doom, death, black, post, psychedelic, some folk and atmospheric metal into quite a cohesive form of genre-destroying art, but In The Woods... in 2018 sound a bit too mandatory, in here it's simply missed that touch of magic which adorned Heart Of The Ages (1995), Omnio (1997), Strange In Stereo (1999) and Pure (2016). Let me explain...

Every instrument on this album is played with perfection, guitars are just amazing, there are many intriguing lavish progressive chords, black metalish tremolo picks, crushing riffs, some nicely played acoustic parts and many melodic segments, that simply are otherworldly, the drums are technically perfect and keys are simply mesmerizingly replenishing the gloomy ambiance. The versatile vocals range from emotive melancholic cleans, powerful yet dark melody singing, to harsh growls and bone shaking blackened shrieks, but Mr. Fog this time doesn't sound so very convincingly. I don't know if it's the problem in the final mix, but sometimes when he tries to sing a bit higher pitched he loses it, like for example in otherwise amazing "Respect My Solitude". It's not a problem in musical qualities, it's that it gives a feeling that some tracks don't lead anywhere, like for example the progressive blackened "Substance Vortex" or the complex, otherwise musically perfect "Transcending Yesterdays".

The tracks that got me hooked the most are the nicely balanced epic doomy opener "Empty Streets", the rather melancholic, but still very strong "Cloud Seeder" that has such a heart rending riff, as well the tracks like the captivating "Respect My Solitude" or "Strike Up With The Dawn" have their memorable moments, actually every single track has that genuine power that can attract the listener to the certain point, but because of before mentioned inconsistency which is a consequence of some poorly added overly complex progressive, psychedelic or some simply unreasonable elements, the pathos gets broken several times.

On Cease The Day I guess the band wanted to expand a bit more their musical directions, and indeed the album sounds expansive, maybe even too much kaleidoscopic, but of course it's a powerful one driven by melodic riffing and thunderous rhythmic lines. The sound is often rich and the atmosphere is dense, but also teared apart here and there. In the end I can say that Cease The Day sounds like an experiment from the 90s which if it would be really done back then it could now be a cult, but unfortunately as it is today it doesn't really stand out as something magnificient. I guess that metal community will nevertheless be in ave of this album, yes, I can imagine that because it's a good album that deserves and needs its time to be absorbed in its fullness, but I think that I'll return to listen to Pure and my precious Omnio more often than to this one.

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 7,5/10