In the Woods...View in iTunes
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Possibly the most enigmatic entity to emerge from the prolific Scandinavian black metal scene (and that's saying a lot), Norway's secretive In the Woods... made a career out of challenging this extreme subgenre's limits with their highly experimental and diversified songwriting. A true musical collective, the group's ever-shifting membership was thought to employ as many as eight musicians at any given time, but X. Botteri (guitar), Oddvar A:M (guitar), C:M. Botteri (bass), and Anders Kobro (drums) are generally understood to have served as ever-present creative nexus throughout the band's existence. This began some time in 1992, when the Botteris and Kobro laid to rest their previous group, Green Carnation, after leader Terje Vik Schei (aka Tchort) departed to join Emperor. Rather than carry on with their former project's rather conventional brand of death metal, the newly formed In the Woods... quickly set about expanding their horizons. Although firmly rooted in classic Norwegian black metal, their 1995 debut Heart of the Ages experimented with traditional rock forms, offered more varied pacing, and utilized both shrieked and clean-sung vocals. The next year's A Return to the Isle of Men actually consisted of their 1993 demos, but with 1997's superbly adventurous Omnio and its equally daring 1999 follow-up, Strange in Stereo (both of which introduced female vocals, ambient touches, psychedelic sounds, and progressive rock overtones), In the Woods... vaulted to the very forefront of the scene's so-called avant-garde set. All the while, the group's rare public performances, nebulous personnel, and scant to nonexistent album credits only contributed to their mysterious aura -- a strategy already proven to be a powerful fan aphrodisiac by the highly influential Bathory before them. 1999 also saw the Botteri brothers reconvened with former partner in crime Tchort, with whom they revived Green Carnation via the Journey to the End of the Night album. Perhaps coincidentally, the following year's Three Times Seven on a Pilgrimage (a collection of three earlier 7" releases) would mark the end of In the Woods..., and a farewell concert in the town of Christiansand was announced for December 29, 2000. Featuring the usual, perplexing cast of alternating participants, the show was recorded and eventually released as 2003's Liveatthecaledonienhall. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia