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In The Woods... - Omnio CD (album) cover


In The Woods...


Experimental/Post Metal

4.10 | 126 ratings

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Trickster F.
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Omnio - Everything you will ever wish to find under the label of Progressive Metal

It is always a symbolic happening when a group manages to produce an effort that stands out and shines brightly among similar creations or done in the same style or scene, for the reasons of avoiding all clichés associated with them and yet accomplishing a sound that can represent the entire genre of music, showing it attractive, inspired in perfection and original. These words can be said about In The Woods...'s Omnio - group's crowning achievement; the Kind Of Blue or White Album of Progressive Metal. However, what separates Omnio from the above timeless classics, taken only as an example, is that the group never made it to the peak of their popularity and, in the end, quit the career when there was seemingly infinite amounts of creativity still left for further masterpieces. This is a tragedy, as their second offering deserves as much attention as the above references. How can this be explained? The answer is dull, yet simple: In The Woods... quite bluntly expressed themselves in a honest, most sincere ways, that were not constructed to appeal to the public on purpose. All of their albums, including this one, remain inaccessible, yet would appeal to various types of listeners, even those who do not sympathise to the genre itself, if only given the right amount of time.

So, what is the difference between Omnio and the rest of the group's offerings that makes it stand out from this vast genre? The reasons are many. First of all, this is the collective's most ambitious effort to date, though it is not the ambition that makes it so memorable. The muse of songwriting was on the group's side as completely as it can be imagined, it seems, and the main songwriter guitarist Chris X-Botteri, who wrote the guitar parts, which hold most of the album's structure and make it literally a spiritual adventure, seems to have been enlightened by some dazzling revelation that nobody had got before him and will never truly understand. Add excellent musicianship, unity of the members and sincerity to that and you will realize that the result couldn't have been any better.

If you have been reading this review attentively and you are unfamiliar with the album, the first question that will spring to mind: what does this sound like? What is the structure? This will not be a difficult question for answer, as every new In The Woods... record seems to wander further and further away from specific standards, making it nearly impossible to find and choose the right words to create an appropriate descriptions, drawing the right associations. It is recommended to listen to it on your own to find out, however, as it has already been mentioned, the first listen will hardly reveal all the little nuances, that make Omnio a masterpiece. Musically, this is a concept album, although there is no lyrical concept surrounding all of its five(or if you count the title track Omnio to be a single composition, then it is seven)components. The songs not only flow surprisingly well and go into each other stylistically - each composition seems like a reference to another, adding something you must have missed and failed to experience initially. There is a variety of moods combined, and also seem be intertwined and connected together in each of the compositions, making the album diversely solid. The musicianship is another essential component that deserves to be noted. There seriously is not anything that can provoke complaints regarding it, yet if you listen to the record to hear skilled musicians play, chances are you will be heavily disappointed. There is neither a single unnecessary note, nor a musical direction to show off for the sake of showing the instrumental prowess; and yet, whilst musicianship is solely dependant on the directions the songwriting takes, each instrument and voice sounds exactly like it was meant to sound, to pass the right feeling, message and mood with grand precision.

Speaking about the instrumental components of the album, it first needs to be said that it is very guitar based. There are constantly three guitars playing in harmony, creating complex layers of sound without losing the expressive tendencies. While the debut album contained a persistent usage of keyboards, Omnio does not rely on them too much, although they do appear in the appropriate sections. The bass guitar playing is remarkably audible, and the bass lines often stick out, especially in the mellow parts. The drumming could have been mixed better, honestly speaking, although the drumming has indeed become more complex on this release. The vocals are also a strong improvement from the first full-length release. Jan Transit's voice has got stronger, and he sings all the parts with distinctive expression, as opposed to the atmospheric approach to singing taken on HEart of the Ages. Synne Diana, the female student vocalist of the group, plays a significantly more important role in delivering the message now, Kairos! is the track she performs vocals on exclusively and the title track is also mostly covered by her great soprano voice. Another unique instrument is the lyrics. The music of the debut album was almost instrumental in places, with lyrics used on occasion. The philosophical mind that questions everything and the poetical skill of whoever is responsible for lyrics in the group had a dramatic improvement during the two years between the two releases, and lyrics are now an additional instrumental, guiding the voices and instruments and the music's overall mood.

The celestial epic 299 796 km/s opens the album, beginning with divine, mellow violins, followed by a mysterious, slow guitar riff, opening a new landscape, that removes you from the world you live and engrosses you completely. This possession will last for the next hour, so be well prepared. The composition is incredibly spontaneous, changing and progressing all the time. The culminations are many; there are various mellow and emotional parts, all connected together. It seems that the first track consists of a large number of culminations, where the music absorbs you completely and you learn something absolutely refreshing and new. I Am Your Flesh is the next track and it is almost the exact polar opposite of the predecessor, although the group's style remains the same. The lyrics are intimate and so personal, that perhaps it was not the right idea to utilize them in the song at all. The lyrics aren't Jan's, yet he was so deeply impressed and felt the sorrow of the author, that he was able to deliver the lyrics in a way I can not compare to anything I have heard before. This track will seem raw and unpleasant at first, and there is a clearly a reason for that. The lyrics express pain, grief and insanity in an extremely abstract way, without resorting to aggression, as strange as it may sound. The lyrics, much like on the other tracks, are impossible to really understand the way it was meant to be, although one can and should make his own interpretation of the message. Myself, I have associations of an inability to feel love, grief concerning problems of intimate character and madness. Once the topic reaches insanity, Jan's voice unleashes a grotesque growl. It should be noted that extreme singing style is not used to sing the lyrics anymore, and is used only in a limited number of moments, when the songwriting reaches its culmination. The guitar solo in the end of the track, which fades out, ending the song, is very disturbing, if you have been listening attentively enough.

Kairos! is the next track and is more uplifting than its depressing predecessor, with Diana handling the vocal duties perfectly. Despite the short length, the traits of the music are similar to the other tracks; it is a very captivating track, especially for its length. Weeping Willow is the next epic composition, and this times the vocal duties are Jan's once again. This is a very dark, mesmerizing number with usage of pianos in unison with the guitar riffs, which the structure relies on heavily on, in the beginning and keyboards in the end. The last 25+ minutes of the album are occupied by the title track Omnio separated on three sections, the first and the last part containing half of the above mentioned culmination the record has to offer. The emotional level of expression reaches its peak here, and all instruments and voices create a hypnotising, trance-like state here, that I have never been able to witness before. They are interrupted by the eerie Space Rock instrumental Bardo Omnio , that will remind many of Pink Floyd. It is a spacy, keyboard driven interlude, that evolves almost like a Post Rock strong, building up, accompanied by guitars and then suddenly exploding together with a high shriek, calming down afterwards and going into the last track, which leads the album to its grand finale.

Simply put, Omnio is a unique, original, ambitious and inspired album, that will appeal to any intellectual and adventurous listener. It is highly recommended and essential for every person, who took the time to read the content of this page, regardless of who you are - a Progressive Metal fan or an outsider to the genre for whatever reasons, including the belief that the genre is stagnant and full of stereotypes, which Omnio is devoid of completely.

In The Woods... sophomore release is a Masterpiece in the true meaning of the word!

Trickster F. | 5/5 |


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