Woods Of Ypres Pursuit of the Sun, Allure of the Earth

With the mesmerising and all too brief moments of the intro, "The Looming of Dust in the Dark (& the Illumination),” Woods of Ypres’ second release and first full album begins to cast a moody spell that it continues to weave throughout the nine lengthy tracks (and outro) that follow. While it still has many intense and extreme moments of black metal-inspired aggression, Pursuit of the Sun, Allure of the Earth, brings out a more Agalloch-like folkiness than the band’s earlier material reveals. Contributing to the record’s pagan aura, numerous clean vocal parts, a bit Floyd-ish in their doubled-octave harmonies, join acoustic guitar flourishes at the lighter end of the sonic spectrum, along with a guest appearance by vocalist Sarah Green. The music offers a conceptual soundscape to accompany a rather sad story, carrying each song through an emotional progression. But despite its atmosphere of pervading gloom, Pursuit of the Sun finally seems more grounded than despairing, as earthiness abounding in title, artwork and sound. (Krankenhaus)