Album Review: In The Woods... - Diversum
Reviewed by Paul Hutchings
There are some albums that you need to spend substantial amounts of time with to fully appreciate the quality on offer. One such album is ‘Diversum’, the latest release from Norwegian Avant-Garde metallers In the Woods. The band’s last album ‘Cease the Day’ was released in 2018, since then the band have changed label and welcomed Bernt Fjellestad into the fold as the new singer, replacing James Fogerty who left in 2021.
The result is an enthralling piece of work, in keeping with the band’s previous releases. Complex and brooding, dark and yet uplifting at times, it’s 49 minutes of genuinely gorgeously crafted music that blends styles in majestic form. It opens with the expansive ‘The Cowards Way’, a superb combination of croaking darkness and melodic soaring elements, it’s the ideal opening and a pathway to numerous delights.
The level of musicianship is sublime whilst the production is crisp and clean. ‘Diversum’ sweeps along, ‘Moments’ a bright contrast to the more edgy ‘We Sinful Converge’, both crafted with epic overtones. The latter is anthemic in feel, the driving beat and Fjellestad’s variation in vocals stunning. The tempo changes several times, switching between spiralling peaks and gentle lows
As the album progresses, you’ll discover delight after delight. In the Woods are masters of melancholy, of the brooding masterpiece and unique feel which sets them apart from others. They like to stretch their songs, with The Malevolent God and A Wonderful Crisis both over seven minutes in length.
Whilst Fjellestad’s vocals stand out, the integral work between the rest of the band is what makes this such a wonderful album. The drumming of Anders Kobro is on point, whilst the guitar work of Bernt Sørensen and Kåre André Sletteberg is subtle, sublime, and intricate. This is combined with the pulsing bass of Nils Olav Drivdal and the layers of keyboards provided by Drivdal, Sletteberg and Alf Erik Sørensen (session keyboards). It’s a heady mix which works on every level.
Each track brings something different. The mellow undertones of ‘Humanity’ with its imposing chorus and the closing cinematic soundscapes of Your Dark both stand as part of the many highlights that spread throughout this release. Ultimately, In the Woods have maintained their high calibre once more. It’s an album that demands attention … rewards are worth it.