Woodtemple – Forgotten Pride

woodtempleI’ve had a love hate relationship with Woodtemple since this project first surfaced in 1998. On one hand, I love Aramath’s lofty vision for the music he creates. Synthetic choirs, voice synth tones and generally a fair amount of atmosphere permeates all of his releases (Sorrow of the Wind being my favorite), but the reality remaining on the other hand, is the fact he has been crushing hard on Rob Darken musically, ideologically and just about in every other aspect you can imagine since this project began. Aramath is essentially Darken’s winter-swept Krampus when it’s time to Larp it up. They practice their sword moves together. They are the stoic warrior duo in their pagan metal selfie time. Hell, they probably complete each others sentences by now. It’s actually quite cute. So it’s no surprise that Woodtemple’s affinity for the Graveland musical aesthetic remains unfaltering on Forgotten Pride, Aramath’s 5th album.

One typically gives a band a bit of leeway when it comes to their early works. OK… this sounds like Graveland. No problem. He’ll figure it out and move on. As Woodtemple’s journey unfolds, instead of figuring it out and finding his own voice, Aramath has actually fallen deeper into his Graveland worship. Instead of hearing what’s going on and saying, “Cool bro. I appreciate the sonic high five, but you’re kinda cheapening my buzz”, Darken joins the band. Even though he’s not in the pic that accompanied this promo, he has had a hand in shaping this material. The plodding drums sound kinda real, but the atypical programming gives it away as being fake, acting more as an ongoing guitar riff than a time keeper, mirroring the 2nd half of Darken’s post Capricornus musical career verbatim. The riffs are airy and barren, buzzing forth just the right combination of melody, triumph and war influenced black metal ala that Viking era Bathory nod of respect. It does all work together quite well, other than the production on Forgotten Pride is too clean and it restricts the instruments from uniting in a distorted nebulous fury that really needs to be there to help this material and sound gel. The harshest element in this music is Aramanth’s blazing hell vocals, which find a slightly higher register to dominate, though simply sound like a younger Darken screaming out on classics like In the Glare of The Burning Church or Celtic Winter. As the album plods on, the lack of variation becomes tiring and “heard it all before” because yes … you fucking have! Repeatedly!

The bottom line is, I tend to tolerate, and at times have even liked Woodtemple, because I really enjoy Graveland. Sure there may be a veiled and minute compliment in there somewhere, but the fact that this project refuses to accept its influences and evolve with a more individualistic voice all his own, is really quite sad. Forgotten Pride is about as close of a clone to Graveland as you’re going to get, but the quality of this material isn’t as proud of a statement, or dense, or vibrant as Graveland. Let the pagan metal completists have their fun with this one, but count me out of the collector mentality from here on out when it comes to Woodtemple – unless he can come back with more conviction or something that at least tries to stand on it’s own merit. -Marty

Sacrilege Records

 

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~ by martyworm on August 20, 2014.

One Response to “Woodtemple – Forgotten Pride”

  1. Pretty much a spot on recap of Woodtemple’s material. Even so I’m gonna give the new one a chance just because this project has flashes of real brilliance, sometimes besting Graveland at their own game https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QX0nnfFPcI

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