Recorded, mixed and mastered at JL Studios at Olyphant, Pennsylvania.
Released on Rottweiler Records, Friday 3 June 2022.
Formed by brothers Bryce and Reece Maopolski in 2016, The Woods Will End You is New York progress thrash band Brotality’s second full-length album, quickly following on from last year’s Worldwide Desolation (2021).
This album really should have all the ingredients to turn this into my album of the year. As a fan of both thrash and progressive metal, I was eagerly looking forward to listening to this release.
A couple of listens in, however, and I’m still waiting for the album to get under my skin. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot in here to love—the riffs are enormous, this is one heavy album packed with interesting, layered sounds. As the promo material says:
Its complex compositions walk the hinterlands of thrash metal, reaching out into the shimmering realms of progressive metal, drawing the essence of both together and weaving them into a breathtaking new tapestry of many colours.
These songs capture the many layered fabric of the wild woods—the beauty, the danger, the mystery, the darkness and the light. Crisp, incisive riffs and muscular, powerful beats fuse with sublime melodies and uplifting solos that will open up your heart.
Vocals, snarling and intimidating, dramatic and richly melodious tell their stories over intriguing rhythms and captivating, characterful music.
To the willing listener The Woods Will End You will reveal something truly remarkable and in songs like ‘The Moon Below’ and ‘Sunseeker’ there is real treasure to be found—as long as you never wander from the path!Promo blurb
And I really can’t argue with any of that. Maybe this album is more of a grower, maybe it’s the metalcore half-shouted vocals that I have never been able to connect with, maybe the songs just feel like they wander a little too far without a clear sense of direction. Who knows?
There are a few beautiful moments on the album, notably “Midnight fire” (track 4) and “Sunseeker” (track 8) where bludgeoning riffs are exchanged for delicate clean guitar arpeggios and gentle melodies. The first morphs beautifully into its neighbouring song “Flesheater of the forest” (track 5); the latter has a decidedly Led Zeppelin feel that introduces another colour to the album.
As an academic exercise of listening to metal, I really can’t fault this release. It has everything that you might want from a progressive thrash album. There are interesting riffs that morph and twist into new melodies and musical territories. There is beauty, there is ugliness. It is heavy and delicate, light and dark, sharp and smooth. For my head, this ticks all the boxes, and yet, somehow it just doesn’t connect with my heart. Obviously, your mileage may vary.
Review score: 70%