Woodsman: Woodsman – Before their third full-length album, Woodsman had made the move to Brooklyn from Denver, a city sitting among forests, which figured heavily into their previous recordings. Maybe you can feel the shift in locale on the self-titled Woodsman; I had the impression of beginning in the woods and ending up elsewhere, a good sign for a psychedelic recording. It reminds me of a fantasy series, Roger Zelazny’s The Chronicles of Amber, in which the main character arrives on other planes by walking and simultaneously imagining the destination piece by piece, subtracting elements that don’t fit, thus shifting the landscape around him until he has arrived at the place he’d envisioned. It’s a good model for how each track tends to progress – movement in pieces, like clay being shaped. And while the elements of every track are similar (dynamic percussion, interjecting guitarplay, effects shimmers), they occupy a good variety of positions on the scales of aggression/meditation and physicality/drone suggestion.
The first half of ‘Loose Leaf ’ and the final section to ‘In The End, Remember When?’, for example, are both very near metal in terms of bristles and teeth-shattering sound, whereas ‘Obsidian’ dreams of the night sky, and the first section of ‘In The End …’ reflects on a breezier ocean sky… and that’s pretty how much Woodsman flows. Most of the tracks have a shift in the middle, a little come-up lift simulating the sensation of your buzz kicking in (the psychedelic version of the ‘drop’), and it’s frequently surprising and occasionally revelatory. And sometimes it’s just small magic – the snare workout midway through closer ‘Teleseparation’, for example.
And I can’t praise the tones of the drums enough on Woodsman; there’s an incredible visceral quality to the percussion like bodies beating on bodies, or the thumping blood in your ears on the final stretch of the jog. Woodsman chose the lead-percussion route to the Holy Mountain, and they do it exceedingly well: check out ‘Gravelines’ and ‘Loose Leaf’ especially.
On the final moments of ‘In the End, Remember When?’, the percussion gives out and the sounds ring in the air, like yanking out the table and seeing the cloth levitating, motionless. There’s a general sense of electric bells and peaceful monotony-but-not-really. That’s pretty much how the whole album ends – it doesn’t really end, it just sits there beside you, ringing for a bit…7.7/10