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In The Woods...

Experimental/Post Metal

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In The Woods... Omnio album cover
4.10 | 139 ratings | 19 reviews | 47% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1997

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. 299 796 km/s (14:46)
2. I Am Your Flesh (7:07)
3. Kairos! (3:34)
4. Weeping Willow (11:40)
- Omnio? :
5. Pre (12:00)
6. Bardo (5:55)
7. Post (8:09)

Total Time 63:11

Line-up / Musicians

- Jan Kennet Transeth ("Ovl Svithjod") / vocals
- Christian "X" Botteri / guitar
- Bjørn Harstad / guitar
- Oddvar "A:M" Moi / guitar
- Christoffer Michael "C M" Botteri / bass
- Anders Kobro / drums

- Synne Larsen / vocals
- Arve Lømsland / keyboards (4)
- The Dust Quartet / violins, viola & cello (1,5-7)

Releases information

CD Misanthropy Records ‎- AMAZON 011 (1997, UK)

2LP Misanthropy Records ‎- AMAZON 011 (1997, UK) Different mastering, new cover art

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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IN THE WOODS... Omnio ratings distribution

(139 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(47%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(27%)
Good, but non-essential (19%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

IN THE WOODS... Omnio reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Trickster F.
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!

Review by hdfisch
5 stars I think there shouldn't be any question (at least in prog metal circles) about the fact that IN THE WOODS... was an exceptional band leaving behind a legacy which will stay unforgettable for many underground artists. This Norwegian band combined that many influences and styles in their compositions to be really called eclectic in the true sense and they merely defied any categorization. Whether it's Pagan Folk, Ambient, Classical, Psychedelic, 70's Prog and of course Nordic Black Metal, it's all there in their music. Their debut was already quite sensational and uncommon in the Black (Pagan) Metal scene, still considerably more rough and wild but with their second full-length album "Omnio" they released their definite masterpiece. The genre-typical screaming, riffing and drumming style vanished here completely and instead we get here five perfectly done haunting compositions filled with a mesmerizing atmosphere at times sounding like being not of this world but not without having the right portion of heaviness at the same time.

The five tracks on here, three of them exceeding the 10-min mark can offer everything any fan of sombre and melancholic prog metal is looking for. They're accessible without being catchy, reveal an enriched sound using acoustic instruments like violin, viola, cello and piano without showing any sign of bombast and own a high variability and emotionality using intense, expressive, clear and well comprehensible vocals (both male and female). Growls are being used very sparsely and only in appropriate moments to emphasize a certain mood. As well the (very pleasant, strong and highly skilled) female vocals aren't omnipresent at all but have been used only when needed. Thus for those people being scared of getting something like Theatre Of Tragedy or any "beauty-and-the-beast"-type of Gothic Metal band I can clearly say, there isn't any similarity to such bands to be found on here. BTW the female singer on this disk (Synne "Soprana" Larsen) is the same one to be heard on GREEN CARNATION's first two releases. Not to forget mentioning the beautiful, highly poetic lyrics of this work which are certainly worth taking a closer look at. In "Omnio-Bardo" there's also the most celestial electronic sound I've ever heard on here. Actually I couldn't find any detailed information about which equipment they've been used for that and in fact I've to say they failed completely to reproduce this atmosphere on stage at the Caledonian Hall concert (there it sounded just like a noisy mess). It sounds as something like a Theremin or maybe some amp-effect but anyway absolutely unique and spine-chilling like the whole of this masterly done album.

To sum up my review I just can say that "Omnio" must be considered a definite must-have in any metal-oriented prog collection. This album is really exceptional and extraordinary providing an ultimate experience of haunting and goose-bumping music even after hundreds of spins. Though usually I'm trying to be mean with my 5-star-ratings I think this one fully deserves it.

Review by el böthy
3 stars Unlike my fellow reviewers before me, I am not that enthusiastic about this album. I find it to be quite good, the band is original, but all the songs are pretty much the same, especially when it comes to the sound of this album, it doesn't change, it stays the same from start to finish. Some might call that their personal sound, granted, it is, but then this is a very monotonous one; some variation would be more than welcomed from my part.

Now, not everything is lost, because, if we take every song on it's own, they are all good, it's just that as they are so similar that after 30 minutes into the album you might want to stop listening, having no interest in the rest, ´cause you already found out, that it all sounds quite the same, which is a pity, ´cause you will not enjoy the last songs.

If one must take one song to show the essence of the album, that should be, without any sort of hesitation, the opener: "299 796 km/s", and I repeat: without any sort of hesitation! This song is an absolute masterpiece, one of the best in the whole metal genre if you ask me. The way it opens, so dramatically (well, actually I would say that that is one of the characteristics of this band, the dramatically, emotional cuasi operatic feel this band has is what makes them stand aside from the rest of the Black, Death, or Gothic metal scene). Then the crescendo, and when finally the vocals drop in, then you have one of the best moments in metal history my friends. But after that, no track, so song comes remotely close to it. and why is that? Well, mainly (for me at least) ´cause they didn't try to think outside their own box. all songs after this one seem (to me) like "299 796 km/s" 2. Of course, they are not exactly alike, but the sound. the sound is the exact replica.

After saying this reader can hesitate if getting this might be a good idea. well. do it, get it! It is a very original piece of work, and you might not agree with me, many before me didn't. and even if you agree with me, you still must give them credit for "299 796 km/s". really, it's an outstanding song, I even say, just get this ´cause of this song!

Review by Mellotron Storm
5 stars The soundscapes provided on this album are melancholic, dark, heavy, tormented, atmospheric and at times heartbreakingly beautiful.

"299 796 km/s" opens with violin and the heaviness is not far behind. Dual vocals come in as the song speeds up.There is a female soprano vocal melody before it gets pastoral again with violin (like intro). There is some mind bending guitar as well as some wondrous vocals from Synne. She can sing so beautifuly and yet sound so tortured at the same time.The throbbing bass is great and so is the heaviness 14 minutes in. This song somehow can draw out my emotions. "I am Your Flesh" opens with blazing guitar, vocals and heavy riffs from the get go. It slows down 80 seconds in before accelerating again with screaming guitar, upfront bass and pounding drums.This contrast continues from atmospheric to very powerful. Amazing ! "Kairos !" is the shortest with heavy guitars and those beautiful female vocals. Nice drumming on this one as well. "Weeping Willow" has such a great guitar melody then it gets heavy again of course. Some keys in this one as the melody speeds up. The sound becomes punishingly heavy as bass and drums lead the way 6 minutes in. The sound continues to be crushing with some scorching guitar solos. Nice. Great song !

The final suite "Omnio ?" is over 26 minutes long and is divided into 3 parts. It starts with "Omnio ?(pre)" as the guitars, violin and vocals lead the way. The song starts to build quickly 3 1/2 minutes in and explodes with drums and a scathing guitar solo. More great guitar to follow and unearthly vocals. The sound 9 minutes in is ecstacy to my ears. More incredible bass. "Omnio ?(bardo)" has this experimental, spacey synth intro. Drums and guitar follow at a slow pace but they start to build as the spacey soundscape continues ! Holy crap ! Unbelievable ! "Omnio ?(post)" opens with mellow piano and female vocals as sound increases. Male vocals and heavy riffs follow. Things quiet down as reserved male vocals are joined by spacey synths. Some scorching guitar as sound speeds up to the end of the song. What a ride ! Let's do it again !

This is essential and I can guarantee if you liked GREEN CARNATION's debut then you'll love this one too. Actually the Botteri brother's and the female singer Synne from IN THE WOODS... were all part of that first GREEN CARNATION album called "Journey To The End Of The Night" from 2000. IN THE WOODS... last studio record came out in 1999 "Strange In Stereo" and then these three became part of GREEN CARNATION for one album only. I confess to have a rooted interest in Norwegian music as my family history goes way back to Norway via Scotland. And I will say again, the music from this album will draw out of your heart and soul things you may not have felt in a long time. An emotional masterpiece !

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "as I turned my fragile skin-I reached Omnio."

"Omnio" is a dark, melodic album with a crushing wall of guitar sound guaranteed to please fans of metal and guitar-based prog rock. The mood is mostly dark, spacey, and quite hypnotic.

The 15 minute opener starts with lovely yet tense strings that lead into the first of many monster chordal assaults, some slow and lumbering, some chugging at maniacal speeds. There are nice transitions that do not sound forced. The vocals consist of a male/female team who are both decent, dramatic, sometimes even operatic in sound. Occasionally the heavy rock stops and you move into calm waters where acoustic guitars and strings clear the air-these moments are very nice and provide a well rounded experience. And the melodies in these quiet portions are very beautiful. This is really a great song that is accessible to all prog fans, not just prog-metal fans. "I am your flesh" begins with more dual-guitar chug. They love to layer the guitars and let them twirl over each other which gives the album a unique sound-very powerful. The drumming is plenty competent but I agree with another reviewer who noted that the mix seems a bit strange on the drums. This track is OK but probably the least interesting and most predictable to me. "Kairos" is next and this is a short vocal track that is really lovely and haunting. Next comes "Weeping Willow" which continues the vibrant guitars while the early vocals are softly delivered over piano and are hard to understand. The song picks up speed to a good clip and coasts until the 7 minute mark when it gets better with a softer prelude to a nice guitar solo. The long title track is last and begins with a spacey sequence giving way to acoustics and strings again. Lovely. This song is another stunner on par with the opener: lots of movement, lots of changes, passionate vocals, interesting chord changes, beautiful lead work, creepy psych passages. What a great closer!.

So in summary this album is bookended by two tracks that are just absolute stunners, and together they comprise most of the album. I can easily recommend the album on the strength of those two songs. However I believe that "Flesh" and "Willow" are well below the quality of those two songs. They do not sustain their length and are less interesting and far less adventurous. The short breather "Kairos" is somewhere in between. So not a masterpiece in my eyes but still mostly excellent.

The booklet features some nice artwork and the complete lyrics.

Review by FruMp
3 stars Dreary depressing modern metal.

Omnio is a very drawn out and sombre album in much the same way a lot of OPETH's music is, it's one of those things that as a metal fan you either love or hate, unfortunately as much as I hate to say it I fall into the latter category. Omnio starts out with '299 796 km/s' (better known as the speed of light) which starts off with some melancholy violin before the band comes in and the slow paced metal journey begins, there are a few black metal moments, some operatic moments, a lot of depressing moments and it's just above mediocre for the most part, it really fails to hold my attention for it's 15 minute span, the next 3 songs are more of the same, contemplative and sad with not a lot going on.

Where the album does get interesting though is in the Omnio suite consisting of 3 songs finishing off the album, they are a lot more progressive and interesting than the early tracks. 'Omnio Bardo' is the highlight of the album, it's a great little ambient track with good use of dynamics and it has a real spacey feel it, the album then ends strongly on 'post' with the first real double kick on the album and some more black metally riffs.

Omnio is a decent album but only for those who enjoy this type of music for the most part it is lacking substance and is caught in it's black hole of depression, I'd only recommend this to fans of modern accessible metal, OPETH and GREEN CARNATION fans will certainly enjoy.

Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A sea of deafening blackness

The entire Post/Experimental Metal genre is often very hit and miss, finding a great album amongst the crowds can sometimes be difficult. Luckily, there's still times when something will jump out and drag you under with its intense moods and almost evil music. In The Woods' second album, Omnio does just that. If you're not familiar with the music itself, In The Woods is a terribly dark band that plays some very heavy stuff. The tone is low, and so is the speed of the album - that is - until it reaches its speed and death metal sections. Truly, this is a very eclectic album in terms of styles, and yet they all mix together so well that the album really comes into a style of its own. It would be very difficult to compare this band with any other, but if forced to pick one might say they sound like an evil version of Riverside with some Tool-esque qualities and some decidedly Pink Floyd moments.

The album is full of twists and turns, and this is what keeps it alive and interesting. Most of the songs on the album deal with enormous speed changes, moving from 0 to 1000 miles an hour in a split second and then back again. The slow parts usually deal with simplistic and emotional string sections while the heavy parts often employ an impressive double kick section and some blistering guitars. A pure example of this is the album's most celebrated song, the opener - 299 796 Km/S - which sets the tone for the album well by making use of these dramatic switches along with some operatic female vocals that really help to take things up a notch. The string sections are always oh-so sad sounding, and in contrast with the incredibly heavy, fast moving sections they make for a very awakening song. This is used again and again throughout the album, always in a new and refreshing way so that things never get too samey and yet still stick to an established theme. I Am Your Flesh is the first to show off the impressive death metal scream that's used a few more times over the course of the album which leads into another pounding, quick session with racing drums and guitars.

A lot of the album can be easily described as ''creepy,'' making for an unsettling, but amazing listen. Kairos! is a good demonstration of this with its mono-guitar opening reverberating into the listener's head. Vocals on this track are strictly female and its slow riffs make for an impressive build. Weeping Willow combines the styles of all the tracks before it to make for a very chilling tune with some more blistering moments. Chugging guitar riffs make for an impressive and memorable 12-minutes.

Of course a lot of people are likely wondering about the title track. This could likely be considered the band's own Karn Evil 9, not in style of course, more in structure and length. The 26-minute long epic that dominates the latter half of the album is split into three parts and each one is highly impressive. Omnio? - Pre is the longest of the bunch and features everything the band did well to this point. An ambient opening gives way to more heavy riffs, the female vocals are back with a vengeance and they've become more operatic as they do. Omnio? - Bardo is a spacey and ambient instrumental reminiscent of a metal version of Pink Floyd, the haunting track makes a triumphant build until it explodes with another well placed death metal scream into the final part of the song. Omnio? - Post reprises Pre with some of the themes stated there such as lyrical content and some of the instrumental melodies as well as introducing a very nice harmonized male vocal section which really chills the spine. Eventually it all comes to a cataclysmic finish and resonates to a stop.

This is a highly impressive album which gets high recommendations to anyone who's looking for something a little bit heavier and a little bit (or a lot) darker. Definitely not feel-good music, this is something for a rainy, stormy day. 4 Weeping Willows out of 5 - an excellent album.

Review by b_olariu
4 stars 4.5 realy

In the woods is a norwegian progressive metal band who explore a wider palatte of genres, from ghotic to experimental/post metal to progressive metal. They released 3 albums in the'90's and then disbanded somewhere around 2001. This is their second album from 1997 named Omnio. I was shocked, in positive way when I heard this album for the first time, I guess 5-6 years ago. Now, after many listnings , and many years flow by, same reaction when I hear this masterpice of modern metal. The music here is kinda hard to describe, some progressive mmetal tendencies combined with gothix textures, intricate passages and melacholic arrangements in places. The pieces are long, minus 2 of them, well developed in manner of composing, excellent musicianship, strong ideas, where sorrow meets tragedy. The dark passages are very well interluded with the moody atmosphere of the album with a lot of drama in vocal department, from male to femal vocal arrangements In the woods realy shine here on every piece. Imagine this band is similar with for ex Green Carnation or Orphaned Land but they have their own twist and originaluty. Featuring members who will joyn later bands like Emperor or Katatonia, two well known acts from scandinavian extreme metal scene. Every piece realy shines, like the opening track 299 796 km/s, who is the speed of light, this is amazing combinations of metal - ghotic and post metal, axcellent musicianship, the rest are also very strong. I will give 4-4.5 for this excellent album full of great and inovative pieces, one of the best from the '90's for sure and in general in progressive metal. Recommended for sure, and their best work from all 3 albums released by them.

Review by EatThatPhonebook
4 stars 7/10

"Omnio" is full grimness and gothic moments.

When I listened to this for the first time I was very impressed, because of it's originality and darkness. I still was the last time I heard this album.

"Omnio" is an extremely dark album, gothic, creepy, with lo fi guitars and vocals ( many times though the woman singing is not) Also very impressive the fact that this band comes from Norway, the land of obscure bands such as Motorpsycho, Green Carnation, Gazpacho, Ulver and Ihsanh. The first track "299 796km/s" is most definitely the best song in the whole album.After the beautiful and dark piano intro, the guitars come in, playing a few chords that would touch anybody who listens to it, with it's unbelievable grimness. The song has many themes, that are all contained in this 14 minute masterpiece. Another memorable moment is when the girl starts singing, creating a more gothic and less epic sound.

The second and third track are not as good as the first one, but still pretty good. " I Am Your Flesh" is unexpectedly heavy, but the atmosphere is not as magic and effective. "Kairos!" is a short song with a nice melody, but nothing more.

"Weeping Willow" is the 11 track piece that stays exactly between he first part of the album and the "Omnio" trilogy. Even this is not as good as "299", but there are many amazing moments, like the last four minutes, where their taste for dark music is highlighted. In the middle of the song I noticed it kind of loses itself.

the "Omnio" suite is another highlight of the album, formed by the three pieces "Pre", the longest and probably the best piece of the suite, because of the incredible use of highly emotive vocals and guitars, completely new in this album. "Bardo" is a five minute semi ambient piece, excellent for connecting "Pre" to "Post", the last song of the album, that closes it beautifully and with all the elements such as grimness and dark melodies that characterized "In The Woods..." second album.

Despite all the grimness that I insisted on, the album is even full of classic heavy metal, like the guitars in many pieces. A really good album, essential for anyone who loves Progressive and Avant Garde Metal.

Review by sleeper
4 stars If the 1980's saw the pioneering of Progressive Metal then the 1990's was the decade it solidified and spread out, exploring and sometimes breaking the bounderies of what was considered part of the mesh between prog rock and metal. Legendary band In the Woods... was one of the main groups leading the way from the extreme metal side of things in Norway and its here on their second album, Omnio, that the band really hit their stride, whilst moving beyond their Black Metal roots at the same time.

The biggest change anyone who is familier with the bands first album, HEart of the Ages, is that the Balck Metal influence has been largely reduced to nothing, with the fast paced riffing charecteristic of this band being the only nod left to the genre that birthed them. In practice, that means that the screaching vocals of Jan Transith ( formerly going by the name of Ovl. Svithjod) are gone completely leaving him to sing solely in his clean vocal range. Also of notice is a huge improvement in the production of this album, the mudyness of the guitars and vocals has been sharpened up. The effect is to leave Omnio as an album more in the vain of Doom/Prog Metal cross.

As a whole this album is underpined by the composing of X Botteri, who by all accounts seemed to have been the main driving force behind the bands music, along with his brother and bassist C:M Botteri. These two take the listener on an almost spiritual, and certainly emotional, voyage by the sweepeing passages, driving riffs and drawn out, mournful guitar counterpoint through the epics of 299.798 KM/s, I am Your Flesh, Weeping Willow and the grand force that is the title track, the 26 minute Omnio?. With the help of drummer Anders Kobro, guitarists Advar a:m and Bjorn "Berserk" Harstad (Bjorn H as he was credited on this album) the band exerts their skill in developing songs from slow mournful and ponderous through gritty, shifting melodies and driving riffs to powerful climaxes.

In many ways the structuring of the music on Omnio is very similar to what was presented on the first album, HEart of the Ages, but the big difference has come in their ability to execute the ideas that build the album and the level of musicianship they employ. They succed far better at creating atmospher here and I think that can be put down to a growing maturity in the Botteri brothers in their composition skills, noticibly taking more time to fully develop an idea or theme to its fullest before advancing the song through the next idea and/or theme. The tasteful use of a string quartet in the opening and title tracks shows them willing to use the space available in the music without it feeling cluttered and the same applies to the sparse but excellently well placed vocals of Synne D (also known as Sopranna) who would latter join the band as a full time member.

If anything Omio is a good case to prove the addage that technicality is a tool to create emotion in music, as this album has an undeniably greater emotional effect whilst the band displays a greater aptitude on their respective instruments, particularly in the guitar solo's. The member of the band that hs made the biggest improvement, in my opinion, is singer Jan K Transeth. On the first album I wasnt all that enamoured with his distinctive Black Metal screams and his clean voice was slightly on the flat and dull side of things, but in the two years between the two albums he has developed his vocals style, particularly the dynamics of delivery. Now his voice rises in command of the listeners attention and it doesnt take much too see why he's considered a legend amongst metal singers. I'm also impressed with his style of writting lyrics, which completely does away with the need for choruses in the same manner that many of Prog Rock's early classics did as well, something that doesnt happen very often these days with bands of any genre.

Of the songs themselves there is no weak tracks. Everything from the majestic flow of Weeping Willow to etherial expanse of Kairos and the experimental soundscapes of Omnio? is fantastic. So, why dont I give this album the full 5 stars then? The answer is that this isnt the best version of Omnio available, that belongs to the live album Liveathecaledonianhall where this albums is performed in its entirety and there's something about the live settin that just gives this music a lift above almost anything else I've ever heard. An absolut must for any fan of Progressive Metal with enough to interest people who dont normally like metal bands. 4.5 well deserved stars.

Review by Warthur
3 stars Whilst In the Woods' debut album was a fascinating blend of Floydian space rock and raw black metal, Omnio presents a slightly artsier take on the gothic metal style, and in particular that especially doomy variety of gothic metal originally honed by the likes of Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride and Anathema. It's a pleasant but forgettable listen, in my experience, and far less compelling than the wild and untamed original album. I guess if you like the idea of In the Woods trying to beat Anathema at their own game it might be an interesting listen, but to be honest Anathema win out every time over this one.
Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A surprise find for me as I found myself actually liking this music quite a bit. Strong vocals (male and female) and entertaining double lead guitars over competent metal compositions led me to reminders of 70s stallwarts, Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy, Blue Öyster Cult, and Peter Hammill. I was not expecting the clever and creative uses of the electric guitars over the course of the album.

1. "299 796 km/s" (14:46) one of the best long-playing prog epics of the 1990s! (28.5/30) 2. "I Am Your Flesh" (7:07) Cool composition with heavy and light/spacious sections alternating throughout. Great lead guitar work in the B parts. The vocals are engineered a bit oddly (as if from the 1970s). As a matter of fact, it's the vocal parts that are, for me, the weak part of this song, otherwise, I love this song. (13.25/15)

3. "Kairos!" (3:34) muted & echoed electric guitar arpeggi stand alone for the first 40 seconds of this one. Then a burst of heavy chords and slow drum and bass establishes itself as the structure over which a female vocalist sings. Great song, great vocal! (9.25/10)

4. "Weeping Willow" (11:40) sustained buzzing lead guitar notes are slowly faded in and then joined by second cleaner guitar and keys. At 1:17 a guitar riff establishes the foundation for the rest of the song. Multiple voices enter, with one low male voice taking center fore. Piano joins in, too. Then, at 2:40 comes a drastic switch to a more steady driving motif with fast-strumming electric guitars using only their low end strings. The pace is still not very fast and the vocal more deep and ominous and slow--not unlike some PETER HAMMILL vocals (and thus the lyrics are very clear). Back to the slower pace for a bit before switching back to hard-driving mode at the 5:20 mark for some instrumental action. At 6:20 vocals return but multiple guitars are still soloing (albeit, slowly). At 6:50 slow guitar arpeggi take over as dominant under structure for the singing to continue in his low, slow PETER HAMMILL voice. More guitar soloing in the ninth and tenth minutes. Even as the song slows and winds down in the final 90 seconds, the two guitars continue to play off of one another. (18/20)

- "Omnio?" (43.25/50) 5. Pre (12:00) highlighted by the two main catchy guitar riffs and the contrast of the deep male voice with the operatic soprano female. Cool! (23/25) 6. "Bardo" (5:55) heavy use of synths (who's playing?) and STEVE HILLAGE-like space guitar until Pink Floyd-like bass and drums enters halfway through and space synths (guitars?) start going bat crazy. Culminates with scream and crescendo of sound. (9/10) 7. "Post" (8:09) opens with piano and bass before dropping away into a "Great Gig in the Sky" accompaniment to Synne Larsen's impassioned-though-worded vocal. Piano and female voice exit in 20th minute as thick multi-guitar weave takes over. AT 20:30 multi-tracks of Jan Kennet's low voice enter. This is awesome! In the 22nd minute, the pace changes, the voice shifts to upper octave power vocal. An alternation with the slower, female-led section occurs twice before we return to "Great Gig" theme, only with electric guitar and Jan Kennet performing the music over the slow, steady rock drum track. Nice, plaintive vocal. Then things re-amp for the final 90 seconds. (13/15)

Total Time: 63:11

A-/five stars; a minor masterpiece of progressive rock music and one of the better Prog Metal albums I've heard from the 1990s.

Latest members reviews

4 stars The most experimental of In the woods releases, even flirting with avantgarde leanings in a few moments. At the same time,the record is not easy to dive in and you will need more listenings to remember most of the moments. There are no short simple tracks and also black metal shrieks and brutali ... (read more)

Report this review (#2271791) | Posted by sgtpepper | Sunday, October 20, 2019 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The album has some very strong points. The atmosphere and dynamics are excellent. In addition, the music can be powerful and intense. There is a lot of potential here. However, often times there is a lack of attention paid to development of the basic themes. The chord changes are typicall ... (read more)

Report this review (#992159) | Posted by dragonspirit | Friday, July 5, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars An amazing album... very emotional piece of work from a so called "black metal" band. In fact, it sounds more like a mix of atmospheric metal, doom metal and dark rock with an operatic feeling... nothing black metal at all. It has the emotion of Anathema, the darkness and sadness of Katatonia ... (read more)

Report this review (#102351) | Posted by zaxx | Sunday, December 10, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Amazing. I don't wish to get into a lengthy explanation of the intricate sounds this album portrays, I just want to say whole heartidly that this is one of the best albums I have ever heard. They just seem to cullminate all the different genres of music I love and search for. Therefore, I co ... (read more)

Report this review (#83372) | Posted by Lord Valderon | Monday, July 10, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars a very special album, quite dissapointed it doesn't get more attention i rated this one four stars; while not being essential for someone who wants to get an accurate image of progressive music, it is an excellent addition to any prog collection now, to answer just one more question, in what ... (read more)

Report this review (#83140) | Posted by Asphalt | Saturday, July 8, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Great album!! It's nothing like their 2 previous albums, HEart of the Ages and A Return to the Aisle of Man. Don't be put off by the so-called black metal influences. You'll only hear two growls in the whole album and that's in I Am Your Flesh. So if you listened to the sample mp3 on the si ... (read more)

Report this review (#45312) | Posted by ulver982 | Friday, September 2, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars In the Woods give another meaning to the term of progress. Mid-tempo or slow orchestrations with violins, slow guitars and accompaning vocals create a unique atmosphere. This album is the band's best(along with Strange in Stereo) and clearly deserves everyone's attention. From the start of the ... (read more)

Report this review (#33405) | Posted by V0lcaN0 | Thursday, January 13, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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