Woebegone Obscured: Marrow of Dreams

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Woebegone Obscured: Marrow of Dreams
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Woebegone Obscured: Marrow of Dreams
Black Metal, Death Metal, Funeral Doom Metal
I, Voidhanger Records
January 13th, 2014
Release length: 1:19:14
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Woebegone Obscured stormed onto the Funeral Doom Metal world with their debut self-released album Deathstination. When it first dropped in 2007, it didn’t get much attention, but that didn’t stop I, Voidhanger Records from not only signing the band, but also reissuing their first effort as well. This set the ground work for their follow-up release, Marrow of Dreams, a nearly eighty minute long release set over five extensive tracks. This time around the Denmark based four-piece is joined by guitarist Q. Woe (former Horned Almighty and Glorior Belli), as well as bassist Andreas Tagmose Gronkjaer (former Arescet) to help nurture their sound. But is this new doom riddled opus strong enough to make one feel, or do all the symptoms of the funeral inspirations make the emotional impact far less impressive?

“Water of Mount Woe” starts things off rather promising thanks to the burdening sensation of feeling pathetic with depressive riffs giving off an atmosphere as rich as a Nautic Doom Metal offering. As the track goes on, the music picks up speed and spirals into catchy mid-tempo Doom Metal with a mixture of raspy vocals and growls. There is a change into cleaner, more spiritual material, like analysing ones self on the inside, only to creep back to the trudging depression once more. Aside that clean bit, the only parts that really stand out here are the slowest of passages, allowing the held notes to bathe in the forlorn atmospheres they create. Sadly, these are few and far apart other than at the start and end of the song, unlike “In Suffering Darkness Dwell” which maintains a slight Melodic Black Metal touch thanks to the crystal-like keyboards in the background that compliment the slow march of the crushing Funeral Doom Metal that stays consistent for longer stretches of time. By the eight minute point it does feel like the song is being stretched, but the sudden drop back to the frozen speed does kind of make up for it.

“Vacuum Ocean” has an incredibly burdening introduction that ushers in a snails pace, pushing an abysmal sensation of loneliness that washes over you even more when the sounds of waves crash behind the clean guitar, vocals, and loud simple bass notes hit. “Crystal Void” isn’t much for emotion, but the tighter performances and lead riffs that are more complex than in other songs does weave a richer experience that is surprisingly catchy at times. It is interrupted by a chunk of cold, reflective riffs and acoustics, all of which give an eighties Rock vibe that somehow actually fits before another depressive meltdown comes back into play.

Sadly, many of the songs could have been cut a lot shorter and been more effective. After a while, the music just seems to start repeating itself, or gives way to passages that really just don’t benefit the track and come off more like padding than anything. This ruins what emotion is built up by then. Sometimes it would only be a matter of a few minutes, but “Crystal Void” easily could have been shaved down by six, or even seven if you remove all the filler that hits after the second cleaner section, saving only the last minute or two of the song. And then there’s the nearly twenty minute “Into the Mindcloud,” which starts with five minutes of horrendously off riffs. It’s clear the goal was to create a creepy landscape, which it does later on, shifting naturally into more depressive and clean material, but before you get there you’re left cringing at how bad the distortion sounds in what obviously represents razor-like Black Metal riffs in a blunt, Death and Doom Metal style. It’s a real kick to the balls since the last roughly fifteen minutes is the best this album has to offer!

According to vocalist Danny Woe, the goal of the album was to create a “musical journey into the mind of a person who never had the feeling of belonging in this world.” Marrow of Dreams does achieve this, but only in spurts. There honestly is no real need for this album to be anywhere near eighty minutes long, nor do the songs need to push past eleven minutes, if even that. This only leads to repetition and padding, both of which greatly dilute the emotional toll this recording would take on the listener, leaving you looking for a distraction instead of staying attentive as the music alters your perceptions. Deathstination knew where to draw the line with the song lengths, and it allowed the emotions to flow naturally from start to finish, whereas Marrow of Dreams takes a huge step back by being the polar opposite of what made their last effort so great in the first place, just for the sake of time. Let’s just hope this isn’t what we have to look forward to from Woebegone Obscured in the years to come, as they are far more skilled and talented than anything this Marrow of Dreams has to offer.

01. Waters of Mount Woe – 13:24
02. Vacuum Ocean – 16:02
03. Crystal Void – 16:59
04. In Suffering Darkness Dwell – 13:08
05. Into the Mindcloud – 19:43
Initial Pressing Score: 2.5/10

Woebegone Obscured
Woebegone Obscured

Digital review copy of this release provided by I, Voidhanger Records.