Woods of Ypres
Against the Seasons


4.5
superb

Review

by Mike Stagno EMERITUS
October 28th, 2006 | 36 replies | 11,561 views


Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist


Ypres is a municipality in the Flanders region of Belgium. Though today it may not mean much too very many people, back ninety years ago during the heights of World War I, Ypres was a place of much terror, death, and destruction. It was here that the British and German empires locked horns in three different battles, each lasting months at a time. Being sent there meant almost certain death for tens of thousands of people. Perhaps this is why the natives of Windsor, Ontario, Woods of Ypres, made reference to this once terrible place. You see, Woods of Ypres focuses on the not so pleasant things in life – despair, darkness, sadness. The kind of emotions that the vast armies of the warring empires must have felt as they rotted away in the trenches of Ypres. Against the Seasons (full name: Against the Seasons: Cold Winter Songs from the Dead Summer Heat), was a demo, and the first recording of Woods of Ypres. Originally, it was released in 2002, but the band re-released in 2005.

The music found on Against the Seasons can be described with relative ease. Melancholic; raw; emotional; cold. These are all adjectives which could describe the band's debut album. And you do not have to go looking for these elements for them to become apparent. No, the raw melancholy can be felt through each and every song, from the opening seconds of The Shams of Optimism through to the closing moments of Awaiting the Inevitable 30 minutes later. Though their song structures are a little more than slightly different, Woods of Ypres somewhat reminds me Opeth through their long, sombre musical passages. However, do to the (lack of) production, the passages and interludes in Against the Seasons are not as easy to make out. But still listenable, and each song has plenty of outstanding moments. The 7 minute track, The Sea of Immeasurable loss stands out here, as is the most interesting song of the album. Vocally, the Against the Seasons demo is slightly different than the band's debut album. For the most part, Woods of Ypres makes use of the raspy black metal vocal technique. The harsh vocals found on the demo are done by a former member, Brian McManus. They fit the dark moods very well, helping create a bleak, sombre atmosphere. Though I am not always a fan of the vocal style, it does not take away from the music at all, and I find his performance quite likeable. Overall, Woods of Ypres definitely impresses with Against the Seasons, and make excellent use of their musical talents.

As I mentioned earlier, the lyrical approach of David Gold reflects around despair, darkness and other similar subjects. Now for those of you who enjoy these themes, you will find yourselves right at home. But if you're like me, and don't have any particular interest in this kind of stuff, well fear not. Though they contemplate on the more negative aspects of life, the lyrics are not cries for attention or help. Instead they are honest musings of the band's primary songwriter. Though some may ignore them due to the harsh vocals, the lyrics in fact, are pretty fascinating. And though some of the lyrics David has penned seem slightly silly, the emotion and depth involved is definitely impressive. The lyrics both play a large and small part of the demo. They help contribute to the melancholic feelings of the album, and for that, I'd say they play an important role. Well then how can they affect the album in a small way at the same you ask? Well for the simple reason that not everyone listens to music with the lyrics right in front of them, and through the harsh vocals, may lose a few listeners.

Against the Seasons: Cold Winter Songs From the Dead Summer Heat is definitely one of the more impressive demos I've heard. It combines raw, melodic black metal with a melancholic atmosphere. While listening it is obvious that a ton of effort was put into the creation of the demo, and it shows through in the music. Each band member has a strong showing, and not once does anyone slip up in his performance. Woods of Ypres should have quite a good career in front of them if they can build on the momentum they've created with their first two releases. The band's next album, Woods 2: The Deepest Roots and the Darkest Blues (what's the deal with all of these long titles?), is due for an early 07 release, and should be quite an interesting album. And while we wait for its release, Against the Seasons is definitely a recording worth listening to. Pick this up if you happen to find it.

Highlight Track: (Since there are only five songs, I'll pick the best one)
The Sea of Immeasurable Loss



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user ratings (40)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Mikesn
Emeritus
October 28th 2006



3709 Comments


Sorry for not adding in a pic of the album cover. I'm not sure where I can find one.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
October 29th 2006



17920 Comments


Good review. This Message Edited On 04.03.07

Dethtrasher
October 29th 2006



2211 Comments


Mike goes Black-metal? I was kinda surprised by this, black-metal has never caught my interest so I guess I won't check this out. Perhaps your recommendation, good review though.

711
October 29th 2006



1341 Comments


Sounds like a pretty sweet album. Ive found that I quite enjoy some atmospheric black metal. Great review as well

Mikesn
Emeritus
October 29th 2006



3709 Comments



I'll probably check this out since I'm really into black metal right now.

They're a fine band. I'm not really a fan of black metal, but these guys really stood out.

Mike goes Black-metal?

Nah I don't think so. :p I wanted to check this band out because they're from my home town, which is pretty cool.

Cravinov13
October 29th 2006



3854 Comments


This album is amazing!

Mikesn
Emeritus
October 29th 2006



3709 Comments


Sure is. I'm really looking forward too their new one that's coming out soon, too.

Anglachel
December 10th 2006



152 Comments


Er, I thought they came from Toronto?

Eliminator
December 10th 2006



2067 Comments


You, Me and Ypres

Mikesn
Emeritus
December 10th 2006



3709 Comments


Er, I thought they came from Toronto?
Originally, they were from Windsor, but they relocated to Toronto in 2004.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
December 10th 2006



16083 Comments


Lets be serious no one could actually like this.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
December 10th 2006



17920 Comments


Yeah those listening party songs suck bad.

Eakflanderyof
January 17th 2007



2143 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Illuvatar, I could EASILY say the same thing about many of the bands you like (Blink-182, Beach Boys, Converge)

metallicaman8
January 17th 2007



4677 Comments


Blink-182 are good. But yeah, Converge.

Spoonful of Shame
April 2nd 2007



29 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Amazing album

Confessed2005
April 3rd 2007



3314 Comments


MM8 should not shit on Converge.

Because they pretty much own the hardcore/metalcore genre.

SynGates
April 3rd 2007



2467 Comments


Good joke.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
April 3rd 2007



16083 Comments


Everyone knows that is Avenged Sevenfolds rightful place.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
April 3rd 2007



17920 Comments


hahah!!L@!JL:!

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
April 3rd 2007



16083 Comments


Theres a fire waiting for you to jump in it, Chan.



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