In the Woods “Strange in Stereo” (1999)

After the ornate symphonic rock of “Omnio,” In the Woods… stripped down their sound and production for “Strange in Stereo,” opting for a somewhat colder, edgier approach. The songs are shorter, more straightforward, and less opulent. But the band makes it work in their favor, abandoning cozy familiarity for something more hermetic and strange. Hence the title.

The first song, “Closing In,” establishes the atmosphere right from the start with a claustrophobic white noise and piano-plodding sound somewhere between David Bowie’s laconic “Heroes” period and spacious Scandinavian doom, poppy and gloomy without ever quite veering into goth rock territory. Jan Transin’s low voice eerily hangs over the music; he sings about intense sexual attraction in obtuse, introverted language, his lyrics corresponding with the opaque mysteriousness of the music.

In the Woods… use metal guitar tones but their overall arrangements contain a classic rock sense of harmony, and ambiguous glaminess hangs in the air with the sexually adventurous lyrics and the drag imagery of the album art. In this sense, “Strange in Stereo” carries great crossover appeal. I’ve played it for rock fans and goths, and both parties took to it- the goths, being the good club kids that they are, even danced to it.

The tempo varies from song to song, even reaching black metal momentum once, but never betrays the subtle feeling. The band is joined by a cellist on a few meandering songs reminiscent of Amber Asylum, seriously creepy and a little pastoral, like being buried alive in a pleasant garden.

“Strange in Stereo” is metal perched on the crossroads of popular music, not quite metal, not quite rock, but occupying a dark gray zone somewhere in between.

-James Slone


Release:  1999
Label:  Misanthropy
Avantgenre:  Atmospheric Doom Rock
Duration:  63:10
Origin:  Norway
Official site:  None
Review online since:  27.07.2007 / 23:11:37


01 – Closing In
02 – Cell
03 – Vanish In The Absence Of Virtue
04 – Basement Corridors
05 – Ion
06 – Generally More Worried Than Married
07 – Path Of The Righteous
08 – Dead Men’s Creek
09 – Titan Transcendence
10 – Shelter
11 – By The Banks Of Pandemonium

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