Woe: Quietly, Undramatically

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Woe: Quietly, Undramatically
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Woe: Quietly, Undramatically
Black Metal
Candlelight Records
October 12th, 2010
Release length: 43:10
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Woe is a Black Metal act that started out in New Jersey, but is now located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Previous to this album, Woe never had an actual line-up for it’s name, focusing solely on Chris Grigg, a.k.a. Xos, who also works in a number of other bands such as Mose Giganticus, Algol, and Krief among others. Eventually, Woe formed into a genuine band, and stepped out from the one-man-show more straight-forward Black Metal sound, and now has become an act that toils around with some Post-Black Metal concepts moreso then before. Quietly, Undramatically marks the first album from Woe as a full band, and it’s quite a trip between traditional Black Metal, and the experimental Post- style.

“No Solitude” introduces the listener to this nicely, having a somewhat ritualistic drumming approach, though the guitars are a simple Black Metal chord in repetition through the track. Eventually, the ritualistic feel of the drumming gives way, though the tempo remains unscathed, and deep gutteral vocals kick in at that moment, occuring a little less then two minutes into the track, giving off a very cold atmosphere, but also the feeling of something different then just your traditional Satan-worshipping Black Metal, though the listener woouldn’t be able to tell from the first real track, “The Road from Recovery”, as it’s loaded with the generla overtones of Black Metal. The guitars are furious, but feature the standard guitar performance for a Black Metal release, with some fantastic drumming accompanying the effort with some surprising control and nice fills and bridges. The production used on the album has a slight raw quality to it, which works well with the vocals that have a very stronge cho effect on them.

Of course, this is where the traditional Black Metal seems to stop comprising whole songs, and the more Post-Black Metal sound begins to pop up. The title track, “Quietly, Undramatically”, is, for the most part, a typical Black Metal song, but as you progress through it, you’ll find yourself being hit with a lighter approach to the music that retains the melancholic sound of the music, but at the same time has more of a Shoegaze approach to the music, adding some clean singing that sounds very out of place. Eventually the song sounds like it stops, and erupts into another song, but it’s simply the closing of “Quietly, Undramatically”, which feels tacked on in the long run, being another Black Metal performance from the earlier material of the song, then quickly transitioning to a slow acoustic piece that fits in with the aforementioned Post- sound of this song. Of course, after this, it’s just a mixture of traditional Black Metal, but due to the production and the band’s performance, there are times where the music will simply sound like it’s going above the traditional Black Metal approach.

For example, “A Treatise on Control” sounds like it would be more along the lines of a Post-Black Metal track, and for the most part you could consider it that way, but it’s more in the manner that the band tackles the music. The song is just your traditional Black Metal song, but it’s at a generally slower pace, and the instruments all have some echo effects on them, aside the drums obviously, but the production aids in making everything sound a little more haunting, giving the listener a very grey feeling of being emotionally melancholic. The vocals retain the standard whaspy wail approach that adorns plenty of Black Metal releases, but there is some layering done to make the vocals sound as equally haunting, sometimes as if crying out, but in an evil tone with a lot of power behind the voice. “Full Circle” makes up the last stand out track, as this one just has a lot going on. There’s plenty of changes in the music throughout the track, the better is the steady pace that hits about eight minutes forty seconds, though the change that occurs shortly after that feels more like a Killswitch Engage song then a Black Metal track, especially with the screaming that is pushed into the background. There’s enough solid musicianship on this song, mostly adhering to a traditional Black Metal approach, that it simply will not growing tired of repetitive. It’s just a little akways with that weird change a little before the nine minute mark.

While there’s plenty of good, stand out tracks on this release, there’s also a few downers that hold the album back a bit.”Quietly, Undramatically” sounds good, but after a little while, the tacked on abrupt changes to the song will quickly start getting old, though the real ending of the song will more then likely trick a lot of listeners that, after a while, start to not pay attention to those parts of the song, making them think it’s over, when it really isn’t. Aside that, there’s also the very short track “Without Logic”, which is another cold straight-forward Black Metal track, but the problem is that the song takes a good while to build up, as it uses distortion and feedback to start the track off. By the time the blistering song kicks in, however, it’s just too late for the song to be saved. But, of the entire album, there isn’t a single track that can compare to the closing song, “Hatred is Our Heart”, which is just an energetic, anger fueled song that leaves all atmosphere behind and is simply about playing the best Black Metal the band can possibly play, and it pays off well. The song is fast, energetic, and has some fantastic guitars to it that make it a simply commanding performance that will wake you out of the slumber that some of the slower tracks on this release can put you into.

Quietly, Undramatically is quite like the title says. While the release has some good songs to it, many filled with songs that play on the listeners emotions through superbly setting an atmosphere that many Post-Black Metal fans will enjoy, it all starts to become bland after a while, as there isn’t much that stands out on the release as well done or jaw-dropping. The better songs on the album are enjoyable, of course, but not to the point where they will have your undivided attention, leaving the listener to zone in and out between parts that show promise, and some of the parts that ultimately just feel tacked on to try to seperate themselves in this style. Quietly, Undramatically is still worth a listen, and it’s not an album that, after one play through, you’ll put away and never listen to again. It’s problem is that the music isn’t all that memorable, though a good start for this act that has officially become a full band.

01. No Solitude – 2:31
02. The Road from Recovery – 6:01
03. Quietly, Undramatically – 8:04
04. A Treatise on Control – 6:22
05. Without Logic – 2:24
06. Full Circle – 12:58
07. Hatred is Our Heart – 4:50
Initial Pressing Score: 6.5/10

Woe (band)
Woe

Digital review copy of this release provided by Candlelight Records via Earsplit PR.