The dampened darkness and mystical serenity of nature are infused in every sonic corner of Woods of Desolation, a melodic black metal artist out of Australia. The band’s undeniable embodiment of beautiful, haunting emotion is especially striking within the framework of the genre’s distinct nuances.

Recently, Woods of Desolation signed with Season of Mist, one of the most reputable black metal labels in the world. In an ever-growing underground of melodic black metal and blackgaze, WoD’s burgeoning recognition reflects the band’s commitment to their sound and demonstrates the rewards of honing a craft over many years. For the artist, this is not a new venture, but rather a project that has evolved and matured with time.

It is arguably impossible to ignore the special qualities Woods of Desolation brings to the scene. As a fan of his work, I was deeply honored to ask the man behind the mystical forest of black metal questions about his work, the recent signing to Season of Mist, and what inspires him as an artist.

From what I know, you (Woods of Desolation) are based out of New South Wales, Australia. Is there a strong metal scene in your area?
Honestly, I’m not too sure what has been happening within the metal scene here in NSW. I haven’t been to a gig in over 10 years, nor really heard many new bands, so I am probably “out of touch” with what, if anything, has been going on here.

Your last album, As The Stars, was released in 2014. Recently on your social media, you announced that you signed with Season of Mist, a massive black metal label that is home to some of the most influential bands. For the first time in almost 8 years, you will be releasing a new album under the Woods of Desolation moniker. How excited are you? What can fans expect from your return?
I think I am more just so proud of seeing things progress this far since the humble beginnings of the project. There is also probably a sense of ease in finally seeing the album eventuate after so many years. Fans can expect a Woods of Desolation album, like any other time. As it has been with every new Woods of Desolation release, it may be a bit different from the preceding album(s) — there are perhaps some new elements to be heard — yet there are still plenty of familiar elements, such that I don’t think the album is out of place in the discography. The core Woods of Desolation “feeling” is still readily apparent.

What inspired you to begin putting new music together after 7+ years?
Well, I have been releasing music again since 2017 with some new projects I started, such as Remete & Unfelled, so I haven’t been entirely absent since the release of As The Stars. I think it was necessary for me to artistically explore some different avenues with these new projects before focusing on Woods of Desolation again. Whilst it might have been rather unorthodox to have such a break between Woods of Desolation albums, I am still particularly satisfied with what was achieved on Remete — Into Endless Night, as well as the forthcoming Unfelled album. But to return more directly to WoD, it felt like it was finally time to put the album together. There were a few different iterations of the album that I could have pursued, but once I grasped the overarching thematic concept and its associated atmosphere, the songs naturally developed and fell into place.

Black metal is often so misunderstood as a genre. With the continuous rise of more bands and additional spins on the genre (such as blackgaze), do you think black metal is evolving? If so, how?
Sure, I would say the genre is evolving. With the sheer increase of bands wanting to create black metal, it is inevitably going to change and evolve. That said, however, I would hope that it is evolving naturally because of more artists willing to pursue an individualistic approach to the genre, rather than incorporating different “outside” elements for the sake of it.

What bands and artists have inspired you, specifically regarding Woods of Desolation?
This is always a tough question to answer. Whilst there are plenty of bands and artists that I listen to and enjoy, it is not always apparent which of these bands have had a direct influence on my songwriting and playing style. I mean I listen to a wide variety of music from Darkthrone to Slowdive, to Misfits and Sigur Ros. Typically, I try to draw inspiration from within and not be too influenced by other bands. However, if I sat down and really analyzed my songwriting on the new album, for example, I could probably trace some elements back, in one way or another, to bands I like. It is subconsciously unavoidable.

“I would hope that [black metal] is evolving naturally because of more artists willing to pursue an individualistic approach to the genre, rather than incorporating different ‘outside’ elements for the sake of it.”

How has spirituality and philosophy influenced your writing, if at all?
It has become a large influence on my lyrics from As The Stars and onward. Whilst I do not subscribe entirely to any one particular position, either philosophically or spiritually, I have found that working through and philosophically probing ideas associated with spirituality and the possibility of life after death to be a useful impetus to the creative process.

What “themes” would you say Woods of Desolation embodies lyrically and emotionally?
Previously, lyrical themes have ranged from nature, life, and sorrow; now, as I have somewhat touched upon above, lyrical themes predominately focus on more metaphysical aspects. What Woods of Desolation embodies emotionally may be entirely different from person to person. I don’t think the “depressive” tag has ever entirely fit, nor is it entirely “uplifting.” For me, personally, it is perhaps a mood of inward contemplation more than anything else.

What can you tell us about the upcoming album? Do you have a name for it yet? Any release date in sight?
Unfortunately, I cannot publicly reveal much information about the album at this point in time. However, I can say that the album was finished last year and has been named. I believe it will be out this year (2022), though the exact date is not yet available.

Outside of music, what do you also love doing in life?
Not much, and one might say I don’t even love doing music (Laughs)! But I do at times enjoy hiking, as well as reading, when in the mood for it.

In what way can fans support you best?
For those interested, customized print-on-demand merch is now available via Season of Mist (both US & EU stores). Additionally, you can find the music on Bandcamp, Spotify, and the like. Thanks to everyone’s support over the years, and hopefully the years to come. It is much appreciated!

You can follow Woods of Desolation on Instagram and Facebook.

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