I enjoy every album Woods of Ypres has released. I consider myself a pretty big fan of the band, but this is their high point. Hearing this immediately after David Gold's death was incredibly disheartening, and hearing Alternate Ending for the first time brought tears to my eyes - in that moment, I don't think I've ever been more impacted by the death of someone that I didn't know personally. Perhaps giving this a 5 is slightly contingent on the heightened emotional impact because of the events surrounding the album, but even without that, this is truly an extraordinary record, that far outstrips the remainder of their already excellent discography. It's hugely tragic what occurred, but few albums could stand as a better legacy.
it's certainly not as bad as the rest of their stuff considering they dropped the whole nature-worship-contrived-agalloch thing for good, and it certainly isn't anywhere near as excruciating as the last album, but the fact is that it's still as crude as it is dreary. the album is pretty gimmicky and there's just about no subtlety in the execution at all and really instead of a mess we have a monotonous and samey experience. i can see fans of woods of ypres eating this up, but it's definitely not for me. shame we'll never be able to see if they would have improved.