Woods of Desolation is the solo project of the mysterious Australian musician D., formerly the protagonist of such excellent works as Toward The Depths (2008) and Torn Beyond Reason (2011). Maintaining the cadence of a full-length every three years, the New South Wales guitarist moves on the coordinates traced by the more atmospheric strand of black metal, characterized by strong post-metal veins. This latest work does not deviate much from its predecessors, also proving to be of a decidedly high standard, thanks to the ability displayed by D. to lend each track a melancholic aura that is mottled with a harsh scream, somewhat along the lines of Alcest’s Souvenirs D’un Autre Monde. Compared to the first steps of Neige’s creature (comparing As The Stars to the recent Shelter, on the other hand, one can see how the gap between the two bands has widened by leaps and bounds), the total renunciation of clean vocals is evident, while in common there continues to be the same distinct melodic taste capable of giving each track atmospheric flashes of sure impact. Nevertheless, D. opts on this occasion for rougher sounds, entrusting exclusively to his guitar the task of weaving the splendid melodic lines to which he has accustomed us over the years. The almost thirty-five minutes of As The Stars thus flow away in a truly excellent manner, making the set of songs almost a single body; probably some purists will turn their noses up at a production that is not exactly limpid, with the guest Old’s scream mostly relegated to the background compared to the instruments, but in my opinion even this aspect contributes to keeping intact the naive charm of a beautiful record, the work of a musician who, at the level of compositional talent, has little or nothing to envy to many other much more advertised names.

2014 – Northern Silence Productions