Saturday, August 31, 2013
Woe - Withdrawal (2013)
Country: New Jersey
Style: Black Metal
I've been following Woe for quite some time now and it was only recently that I realized how long I've been following them. Though it was on Quietly, Undramatically from 2010 that I found I got something special I had been with the group since the first full-length A Spell For The Death of Man first came out. It doesn't feel as though it's been three years since that second full-length but it has.
When I first saw the cover of this album, I pretty much guessed that this would not be a continuation of the more atmospheric and somewhat progressive ideas that the band experimented with on their last album. After reading a couple of things about it, I managed to find that my intuition was pretty close to the money. What I learned before listening was that the band was returning to the more straightforward and direct black metal sound of their first record. Now it has to be said, although I do find that the band dropping the progress they made on their last album to be disappointing, I do think that they did, at least, improve upon the sound that was on the first album. I have to admit that straightforward and traditional forms of black metal (or at least modern takes on the traditional formula) isn't really something I'm a huge fan of. I can get behind all the old-school stuff and some of the newer albums, but this album is cleaner than I would have liked that sound to be heard, though it is much more preferable to the sound on the debut.
Where this album's strength is found, or at least where I found the band were at their best, was when they were channeling some nice thrashy and crust punk and hardcore influences into these otherwise standard black metal tracks. I can appreciate the blasting and the tremolo picking, but it's those hard hitting thrash riffs and punk attitude that grab me and make me want to listen. I've watched plenty of live videos of black metal bands looking tough and attempting to look evil and demonic while performing these sort of songs like and it just looks stupid (to me anyway) but when I think of this band, I could see them just trying to have fun and rock out while playing live. I have no idea how thrilling it may or may not be playing black metal live, but I can imagine that playing songs with fast and aggressive riffs that actually make the audience headbang would provide a lot of fun. So, having said that, tracks like Carried By Waves to Remorseless Shores of The Truth and Song of My Undoing sound to me like they were specifically written to be played in a live environment. In fact, I'd say the last three tracks on here are among the best the band have written. That means that tracks like This Is The End of The Story and Ceaseless Jaws are songs that don't really do much for me and I only point that out because they lack that real powerhouse riff that brings me into either track.
It's a solid enough album, there are some killer songs and some tracks that I could do without. Obviously there are plenty of people out there who will dig the more traditional black metal songs more, which is fine, but those tracks just don't do anything for me and aren't unique enough for me to at least say they're interesting. So, if you're into black metal but aren't really a huge fan of experimentation, you could still get into this record.
Overall Score: 7.5
Highlights: Carried By Waves to Remorseless Shores of The Truth, Song of My Undoing