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In The Woods...

Experimental/Post Metal

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In The Woods... Heart of the Ages album cover
4.04 | 68 ratings | 5 reviews | 29% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 1995

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Yearning the Seeds of a New Dimension (12:24)
2. Heart of the Ages (8:23)
3. ...In the Woods (7:50) :
- a) Prologue
- b) Moments of...
- c) Epilogue
4. Mourning the Death of Aase (3:33)
5. Wotan's Return (14:52)
6. Pigeon (3:01)
7. The Divinity of Wisdom (9:08)

Total Time 59:11

Line-up / Musicians

- Jan Kennet Transeth ("Ovl Svithjod") / vocals
- Christian "X" Botteri / guitars
- Oddvar "A:M" Moi / guitars
- Christoffer Michael "C M" Botteri / bass

- Anders Kobro / drums
- Synne "Soprana" Larsen / vocals (2,4)

Releases information

Artwork: Thorbjørn Haugland

CD Misanthropy Records ‎- AMAZON 004 (1995, UK)

2LP Misanthropy Records ‎- AMAZON 004 (1995, UK)

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IN THE WOODS... Heart of the Ages ratings distribution

(68 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(29%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(35%)
Good, but non-essential (24%)
Collectors/fans only (10%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

IN THE WOODS... Heart of the Ages reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Trickster F.
5 stars Absolutely essential for understanding how Extreme Metal became a part of Progressive Music!

Constantly ignored and neglected, In The Woods... comes to my mind immediately as a music collective that deserves more attention for equally their historic importance and songwriting skill, the latter being the main reason to give the group a careful listen and let the music sink in. For quite some time it seemed logical and simple to consider the Norwegian Extreme Metal scene to be the exact opposite of Progressive Music, however, as time went on, it became obvious that the scene is full of absolutely enlightening musicians with unique and refreshing views on musical structure and musicianship. One of these pioneers of the unusual Scandinavian tendencies evolving within the Extreme scene was undeniably In The Woods.... Unlike other groups, which started playing music as a form of expressing rebel and dissatisfaction, this group began transcending the borders set by their predecessors without any delay, proving themselves to be a serious piece.

Having released two demos before their granting us with this first full-length release, the musicians became known in the underground circles, who awaited continuation with eager excitement and impatience. HEart of the Ages(spelled with the first two letters of 'heart' as capital letters; think 'heart - art'). While still rooted in the Black Metal scene, which is the most obvious, yet definitely not the only influence in this case, In The Woods... are utilizing many inspirations from outside the Metal scene, which, together with creativity and originality, is what makes them a group that stands out amongst the rest of Norway in the year of 1995.

In The Woods... - the title of the group is not just a clever, well-thought out name for the group, as the musicians decided to name themselves that way, because they realized their sound represented the nature of their native land and its spontaneity. Many associations related to nature are bound to be awaken in the listener's mind while listening to their divine, spiritual music, but the theme of forests appears to be especially evident. It is important to realize that first came the group's sound, and only later was it given its name!

HEart of the Ages is by no means an accessible offering, clocking at almost one hour, it requires an attentive listener to think and, most importantly, feel all the emotions presented in the music, as well as following its constantly evolving directions. The album is opened with the majestic Yearning The Seeds Of A New Dimension, which is easily the best track on this album if taken into account separately(which doesn't make sense, as this album is strong as a full experience, not as a collection of great songs)and one of the most excellently written compositions the group has to offer, which is saying a lot, regardless of the relatively low amount of material. The track begins with an extended spacy intro played on keyboards, which creates a mysterious atmosphere, preparing the listener for deeper soundscapes to follow. It successfully goes into the next part, with marvelous synth strings, followed by a sorrowful, almost crying guitar part, which is extremely expressive. The vocals appear afterwards, and they should surprise anyone familiar with the singing styles commonly present in the repertoire of Norwegian Metal groups. Jan Transit is an amazingly talented singer, with a great voice, but he will mostly be remembered for the stunning emotion he manages to pass to the listener's ears and soul. At times I compare him to the Johan Lanquist, who sang on Candlemass's Epicus Doomicus Metallicus album, but mostly his singing style is completely original. Going back to the song, it keeps going in its own mysterious direction and we witness a mellow guitar part with spoken word. As the words are spoken, a new voice, which is inhuman, beastly whisper, can be heard. This is one of the eeriest moments I've heard in music - this eerie section, quite logically, goes into an intense melodic Metal part with great guitar riffs and first extreme vocals on the record. The extreme singing here, as well as on other tracks it appears, is merciless and inhuman powerful, psychotic shriek, which can be hardly called a "generic Black Metal scream", as it reaches new levels of expression unknown to other groups. Unfortunately, the expression is extreme in its own ways, making the lyrics incomprehensible, requiring to read the booklet to find out the meaning of the message supplied. Speaking about the lyrics, they are a thing also worthy of notice. They are meaningful and deep, and also difficult to understand, never straight-forward. They are often based on themes of nature and mythology, but mostly are expressions of personal, innermost thoughts and feelings. Although Jan Transit is not the person whose responsibility is the writing of the lyrics in the group, he seems to handle the expressive duty perfectly, as if he has felt the meaning himself and experienced everything on his own. Strangely, regardless of the vocal approach, the song flows quite melodically, until it is interrupted by a real Black Metal part with tremolo picking, blast beats and a significantly faster tempo. The composition continues to develop itself in a very spontaneous way, interesting to the ears of every intellectual listener before finally fading out, followed by the mellow guitar sounds previously heard during that one 'eerie' part.

Describing every single track on the album is unnecessary, as, like I have mentioned above, it works as an entire journey. The songwriting approach on the record is challenging and very dark - there are no uplifting or happy moments to be found anywhere, although there are moments of despair, passed not as much using vocals, rather than the instruments. On the group's sophomore effort - their masterpiece Omnio - the group will achieve the impossible, making each note significant and full of meaning, and also extremely memorable. In this case, everything works slowly and there is not an accent on each part - more like the accent on the whole feeling and the actual composition and its direction. Parts are crafted well together, showing impressive consciousness and unbelievable maturity in what these people in the group are doing. Remember, nobody had previously walked the same paths In The Woods... had the courage to take, although some notable influences from the Metal scene would be Bathory(who must have influenced every forward- thinking Extreme Metal musician in the early 90's)and My Dying Bride (surprisingly, not even in our archives yet). Add professionalism and sheer dark beauty to that and you have an album that is worthy of your time and should be taken seriously.

HEart Of The Ages is an inaccessible, one-of-a-kind release that every fan of Progressive Metal who isn't afraid of Extreme ways of expression should own and hold in high regards in his collection. I would also like to recommend it to other listeners who think they are not concerned to the group, if only because of the vocals. It is recommended that such people delve in In The Woods...'s later two releases - Omnio and Strange In Stereo, which are deprived of the Black Metal influence completely. Just remember that this is not an album to be ignored and always come back to it if you've never bothered with it because of the approach to singing (although the songwriting is never based around the vocals and they are just used as an occasional instrument, fitting the atmosphere perfectly. Nevertheless, people tend to find vocals a problem, so I am warning those who apparently won't be taking this journey with an opened mind).

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars - "Heart of the Ages" is the debut full-length studio album by Norwegian metal act In the Woods.... The album was released in 1995 through Misanthropy Records. In the Woods... have strong ties to the Norwegian black metal scene but their music is much more experimental than many of the more traditional black metal bands.

The riffing in the music have influences from melodic black/ death metal bands like Unanimated and Dissection. There are post metal influences here too though. The slow doomy riffing that is a trademark in that genre is also present here. Layers of synth is also a big part of "Heart of the Ages". The music is overall quite melodic. All tracks are of a good quality but "...In the Woods" is my favorite here. The singing is both clean and black metal raspy. Sometimes the singing is in the strange/ psychadelic vein of Ved Buens Ende which is an artist In the Woods... bears some resemblance too.

The music is generally played with conviction. The only thing negative thing I´ll mention is the drums. They sound untight to me and Anders Kobro´s drumming style is not very sophisticated. The tempo is slow- to mid paced and it´s especially in the mid tempo sections there are problems with the drum style. They play very straight forwared. I think it sounds like German heavy metal from the eighties and that drumming style is not fitting the rest of the music very well.

The production is a very thin sounding black metal production and a better sound quality could have done these songs more justice. My overall impression of "Heart of the Ages" is still pretty good though. I´m intrigued and want to hear more music from In the Woods... and that´s always a good sign. Bearing in mind that there are a couple of flaws I think a 3 star rating is fair.

Review by sleeper
4 stars The early 1990's saw the Nordic states rise as the spiritual home of extreme metal, with Sweden becoming most famouse for its Melodic Death Metal and Norway's (in)fame(y) coming from Black Metal, or more so the unsavery nature of many of the scenes protagonists (the church burnings gaining particular attention). Like Punk some 15 years before it Black Metal stood as a musical form of rebellion and shared the same visceral and fairly simple approach, but this was never its corner stone and so it was always just a matter of time before a someone would come along and stretch the bounderies much further. And so it did, when Tchort left Green Carnation (yes, that Green Carnation, famous for Light of Day, Day of Darkness) to join Black Metal icons Emporer as bassist, the band split up and reformed under the leadership of C:M and X Botteri as In the Woods....

Right from the start of the opening track, Yearning the Seeds of a New Dimention, its clear that whatever aliegence they hold to black metal is not all consuming with a spacy, melencholic keyboard soundscape floating around and slowly building up over the first 3 minutes leading into a slow mournful tune and then braking out in a raw black metal blast. These changes of tempo and a desire to explore a wide range of sonic landscape, primarily through a fusion of black metal and doom metal, show the band as one of the most pioneering progressive metal bands of the mid to late 1990's, well before the hord of Dream Theater clones got in the way.

Admitedly, as musicians they're hardly in the same league as Dream Theater and Cynic, but thats not remotely a bad thing as the band is clearly focused primarely on creating atmospheres and mixing that with the spiritual and nature focused lyrics. The prime result of this the imagery conjured within this listeners mind of bleak, cold forests in Norway or the sharp, steep precipices of the fjords. To that end the album is an unmitigated succes and the bands ability to create beatiful melodies through X Botteri Oddvar A:M's guitar playing, backed by the expansive sounds from the keyboards, the emotive and grasping leads and the controled agression that the members are able to unleash in emphasis belies the fact that this is the bands debut album.

This isnt, however, a perfect album by any means. To most people the black metal shrieks which amount to maybe a little more than half of all the vocals on HEart of the Ages, and they are best described as near uninteligable shrieks, of Ovl Svithjod will be a real problem as even I have a hard time with them and I generally like the growling/screaming/shouting styles of vocals whilst his clean vocals can be described as dreary in several parts. The production isnt all that great eathier with a lot of background hiss being a big problem in the quiter sections and I find that the clean guitars could have done without the muddy sound and a more prominant place in the mix though the raw quality of the distorted guitars actually works in the bands favour. Similar problems affect the vocal sound, but to a lesser extent and in the end arent anywhere near as big a problem as the vocalist himself will be to many listeneres The bass, drums and keyboards are decently recorded here though, if not exactly crystal clear and perfectly mixed, and the listener will have no trouble hearing them or any real complaint about the their sound quality. Dont get the wrong impression about the recording quality though, its definitely listenable and all instruments are clearly heard, a far cry from the typical "DIY garage band" aproach to recording that many BM bands became famouse for.

Despite its faults and even the fact that it took me a long time to accept the vocals of Ovl Svithjod I cant help but really enjoy this album from the bleak, dreamy landscapes conjured in the opener, Yearning the Seeds of a New Dimension, to the raw power of closer The Divinity of Wisdom via the majestic ebbing and flowing of ...In the Woods, Heart of the Ages and Wolan's Return. Though the band displays a fair level of technical proficiancy they show that its definitely what you play and not how difficult it is that truly makes a song and so there's a youthful passion on here that never fails to grasp my attention. A highly impressive debut that gets 4 stars from me, and an extra half for sheer listening pleasure.

Review by Warthur
5 stars Starting out firmly in black metal territory - Emperor member Tchort was in an early lineup - In the Woods rapidly evolved into a much more complex affair, combining bursts of black metal aggression (as on Wotan's Return, which features the blast beats, walls of guitar noise and shrieked vocals you expect of black metal) with Pink Floyd-esque space rock moments of tranquility and classical-inspired passages on synthesiser. The electrifying mixture makes for an incredible debut album which, whilst it regularly returns to the band's black metal homestead, wanders through other musical realms even more regularly than Ulver's debut, and masters each style the band turns its hand to.

Latest members reviews

4 stars One of the best intelligent atmospheric metal albums that I know was logically recorded in Norway. The music is experimental and sophisticated but you can say that black metal and doom metal have had the largest influence on the band. This album documents young lads being rooted in the contempor ... (read more)

Report this review (#2271790) | Posted by sgtpepper | Sunday, October 20, 2019 | Review Permanlink

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