“Against The Seasons: Cold Winter Songs From The Dead Summer Heat” is the pretentious title of the first demo of WOODS OF YPRES, the now famous Canadian Melo-Black band. Originally released in 2002, what I got in my hands is the 2005 re-release through Krankenhaus Records and also my first contact with their music.
I lost some of the interest I had for checking WOODS OF YPRES when I read that they were some kind of Canadian DIMMU BORGIR, because I had never really liked a clone of the Norwegian masters, but when I listened to this album I noted that my prejudices were basically that… just prejudices.
Well, let’s say that WOODS OF YPRES play nothing but Melodic Black, but the comparison with DIMMU BORGIR would be highly unfair, because while the Norsk monster build more bombastic and clean music, what we have here is highly emotional and melancholic, dense but Doomer Black Metal. This album can be rather sorrowful by times and keeping the bewitching, monotonous riffs that are used by the bands that follow the footsteps of BURZUM.
The growling is good, but the vocals turn rather shallow when clean. WOODS OF YPRES use a lot the game between harsh vocals and some mellow choral parts, where is notable the influence of EMPYRIUM. Just like the before mentioned band, these Canadians play a lot with subtle elements and care for beauty in their music, specially by the voice, creating a pretty thrilling ambient.
“Against The Seasons” is not a groundbreaking release, but certainly one of the good demos I had heard in Black Metal. Passionate yet rude, touching but underdeveloped and with a fresh, natural spirit that really embraces. The main problems I see are related to the sound, as drums are much louder than I would like and vocals seem to be too suffocated, but there is certainly potential with songwriting. (Online April 25, 2006)