Quietly, Undramatically

Written by: MST on 23/02/2011 22:53:28

Woe is an American black metal band from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It started out as a one-man project by singer Chris Grigg, but on 2010’s "Quietly, Undramatically" the band is complete with 5 members in total. Stylistically we’re talking raw 'black metal against hope' as the MySpace profile puts it.

The music is pretty straight forward black metal that, to me, falls a bit short of portraying the emotions that the album stands for. But though the music itself doesn’t exactly scream depression, the lyrics are described pretty well by the band’s name. We’re talking depression, grief, trying but failing to reach the surface when drowning in sadness. Nothing about Woe is all that original, but the band clearly knows what they are doing, as the compositions and riffs are well executed. A tiny bit of experimentation exists in the form of the title track, with a surprising display of gloomy clean vocals that works very well as a bridge between two passages of shrieked depression. But apart from that we’re treated to regular, genuine black metal as we know it: drums that are either blasting or delivering one-two beats that accompany the guitars and vocals, distorted guitars that play tremolo riffs when the drums are blasting, and painful shrieks that somehow remain in the background of the mix to give it a sort of an echoing, hollow sound. The production is really good, in that all instruments can be heard clearly and they’re not drowning the vocals, but it’s not overdone, leaving a nice raw edge to the sound. The songs vary in speed, from the slow, sorrowful "A Treatise on Control" to the blasting "Without Logic" and the hateful "Hatred is Our Heart", both of which unfortunately fail to reach their full potential as they both end too abruptly and the former of them ending after only 2 minutes.

"Full Circle" sees the band try to create a long song, but it fails to stay interesting throughout the 12 minutes and 59 seconds. As I look back and reminisce about the music, I mostly remember the things that annoyed me about the album, like the passage in the title track where the lyrics are shrieked one syllable at a time, making the start of the song seem way too long and uninteresting. But it is an enjoyable album that should interest anyone who likes the genre and does not require an awful lot of originality.


Download: Quietly, Undramatically; A Treatise on Control; Hatred is Our Heart
For the fans of: Cobalt, Wolves In The Throne Room (but shorter songs with no ambiance), American black metal
Listen: Myspace

Release Date 12.10.2010
Candlelight Records

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