Woods Of Ypres Against the Seasons: Cold Winter Songs from the Dead Summer Heat

Sounding like an import from Scandinavia, Woods of Ypres have released a remarkable debut EP. Against the Seasons could have been recorded in sight of fjords and Viking burial grounds rather than in an industrial armpit of Canada. Taking inspiration from bands like Opeth, Amorphis and Dimmu Borgir, Woods of Ypres blend unrepentant black metal with clean vocals and folk-ish melodies, drawing the combination out past the seven-minute mark in most songs. With the band's influences fairly close to the surface, Against the Seasons sounds familiar after a relatively short number of listens, but it's a familiarity bred from comfort, and equally a sign of their skill in crafting memorable songs. Tracks like "A Meeting Place and Time" demand to be heard by large audiences, as Woods of Ypres deserve large scale exposure and need to get cracking on a full-length album. (Independent)