"Quietly, Undramatically"

By Dr. Abner Mality

Woe has caused a bit of a stir in US black metal circles and this album is being royally hyped in some quarters. Surely  their peculiar membership has contributed to this hype...they have connections to bands as diverse as Absu, Rumpelstiltskin Grinder, Infernal Stronghold and Green Evening Requiem. That suggests the music could be a bit of a mish-mash.

Actually, this is straightforward, aggressive and competently performed black metal with a strongly traditional edge to it. I find the album enjoyable but hardly ground-breaking. A band I could mention for comparative purposes would be fellow USBM soldiers Black Anvil. The hammer is down for most of the record, with plenty of speed and riffs so freezing they are virtually Antarctic. Woe puts melody in strategic places and there are some calming acoustic bits but they are by no means prevalent. One thing that has to be said is that the drumming is amazing throughout and almost reaches the speed and precision of Frost (no mean feat). The vocals also have that typical harshness...only a brief and awkward dalliance with clean vocals on the title track breaks that mode.

More than this, I cannot say. It is very good fast and melodic black metal, especially for being American, but I can't see any sort of added dimension it brings to the genre.