Review by Adam M on March 21, 2015.
Although the music on this disc hardly consists of heavy metal music, there is certainly an extremity involved with the complexity and impact of the compositions. Musk Ox takes elements as disparate as Ulver’s Kveldssanger folk album and the greatest of classical music’s composers and makes an exciting form of folk music.
This creates some elements that are even more interesting than that classic Ulver album, but gives up some focus and brevity in the process. The result is an album that mesmerizes in its best moments, but also has a few uninteresting portions here and there. The first song is strong and the second song Windswept is a highlight with its very stirring use of strings. There are certainly excellent moments later on in the album, but it’s certainly the beginning that has the most focused impact. Although the instrumentation most often resembles the folk genre, the arrangements are more complex and involving than a lot of other music. There is certainly a thoughtful slant to all of the five songs and it shows a great maturity on the part of the musicians. There is certainly room for improvement in the future, however, with a few of the portions towards the end of the disc that are drawn-on too long.
The quality of the musicianship is absolutely stellar and certainly heightens the power of these subtle tracks. Every note is performed with the greatest of emphasis on emotion and the idea that these musicians want to stir feelings within the listener. Though subtle, the compositions are both moving and thoroughly involving. This is impressive considering the very gentle weight that each instrument occupies. Woodfall is an album that completely stunned me upon initial listen and has a grip that never lets go. Let it do the same for you.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10