Release DetailsLABEL Total Holocaust Records
RELEASED ON 4/19/2005
Woods Of Infinity
posted on 5/2005 By:
Just when you thought black metal had absolutely exhausted its arsenal of politically incorrect pronouncements, we appear to have reached a new high (or indeed, low?) with Sweden’s Woods Of Infinity, a relatively new outfit who have aroused quite a ruckus among underground circles for their vocal affinity for pedophilia. While it is highly unlikely that psuedo BM will dethrone NS as the aspiring black metal terrorist’s ideology of choice, the resultant sensationalism that has erupted from WoI’s brashly libidinous statements has certainly given them a fair deal of attention, positive or otherwise. Black metal’s credo is, after all, that all publicity is good publicity.
All this would be moot, of course, if Woods Of Infinity purveyed worthless noise. To some degree, this was both true and false of their Total Holocaust debut F&L. While being a thoroughly original affair, merging raw and desolate Forgotten Woods-esque black drone with bleak Raison D’etre black ambient and subtle psychedelic flourishes into one curiously antagonistic package, F&L was a thoroughly disconcerting and confounding listen, demanding a patient ear to unravel the unhinged perversion within. Hejda presents a similarly off-putting proposition that alternates between disturbing brilliance and almost satirical ridiculousness. This tongue-in-cheek shtick is further consolidated by the rather comic photographs in Hejda’s sleeve, which features among other things a picture of a drowning 5 year old girl, a photo of a bloodied Ravenlord embracing a naked doll and Melkor spanking an anonymous set of buttocks. While one can certainly appreciate the fact that WoI don’t partake in the grimmer-than-thou posturing of much black metal, such images certainly serve to color some of the more befuddling moments of the record, prompting one to question if Hejda is indeed a work of elaborate farce.
For a band that recently announced an impending split with Norsk weirdos Joyless, Woods Of Infinity certainly share an aesthetic conduit with said band, exhibiting a dizzying melange of somber Death In June moodiness, Lush type melancholia and bizarre folk flourishes while remaining loosely rooted in the metal that bred them. This record sees them embracing said influences in a similarly overt manner. After a rather unnecessary spoken word intro, “Köld” presents an odd juxtaposition of crude, misanthropic ghastliness and reflective melodicism, a gentle classical guitar line floating weightlessly above a gruesome bloodstained wall of grating Nordic noise. What results is what sounds like primordial Enslaved and early Ulver covering Joyless’ Unlimited Hate record, quite an enchanting number indeed. “Under Färden”, meanwhile, employs a similar template, utilizing dark, driving, Cure-ish gloom-pop chords that provide an affecting background for the unearthly howls of Melkor. A minute into the track, a BRILLIANT Gothic chamber synth line is introduced, infusing the track with an enveloping, macabre majesty. The folky threads of F&L surfaces and take foremost prominence on “Kärlek Och Vänskap”, the track taking a sub-Graveland direction that is decidedly different from the swirling somberness of the previous tracks.
The more one plays Hejda, the more apparent their parallels with Joyless/Forgotten Woods become. There is the same desolate sullenness, the same spacious expansiveness, and perhaps most importantly, the same overbearing Velvet Underground psychedelic sensibilities, most apparent in tracks like “En Förgangen Tid” with its jangly introductory passage and the meditative midsection of “Det Som Hände”. While not quite as consistently excellent as Forgotten Woods or Joyless (who I regard as two of the FINEST bands to ever emerge from Scandinavian shores), Woods Of Infinity certainly draw favorable comparisons in Hejda’s more linear passages. The songwriting here is not always up to snuff, and there are a few tracks that still frustrate me after repeated listenings (the cover of Barry Manilow’s “Old Songs”, the intro/outro….why?!) , but largely this is a very worthy successor to the weirdo throne vacated by Ved Buens Ende’s Written In Waters, Fleurety’s Min Tid Skall Komme and, yes, the first Joyless record. Hell, the guitar tone and drum sound even makes me think of Forgotten Woods, which is an extremely positive thing!
If you are searching for something adventurous, inventive and utterly disdainful of the prevalent trends circulating around today’s facepainted circles, Hejda will likely prove a pleasing listen. If you are a moralist who feels Woods Of Infinity infringe upon good ethical hygiene, kindly eject your politically correct posterior out of this review now! Like F&L, this record is a complex, dumbfounding release that transgresses all established codes and presents a document of a band unafraid to blaze their own filth-paved path. It may be a little uneven, but a band of such bold resolve is surely worth some attention.
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