Easily one of the more far-reaching bands to ever be associated with black metal, the eclectic In the Woods is truly one of the more innovative and unique metal bands in existence. Often evoking a love it or hate it reaction with little in-between ground, In the Woods certainly have carved their own individual path. Their debut full length, HEart of the Ages, is no exception. Featuring a blend of mid-paced, slightly epic feeling metal and a mix of cleanly sung dramatic vocals and some very harsh black metal screaming, HEart of the Ages is a lengthy piece of work that takes quite a bit of time to grasp. In my mind, there is little here not to like for fans of extreme as well as intelligent music. The band's ability to compose in slower, moody sections as well as the more blistering parts without endangering the song is remarkable. Secondly, the fact that the clean vocals are actually quite strong and powerful show talent beyond the masses of black metal bands who warble off key in mock gregorian chants. Finally, the album overall induces a somewhat contemplative mood, as it should, considering the depth of the music. In the Woods is certainly seeing the forest for the trees in HEart of the Ages.