Woebegone Obscured

Marrow Of Dreams

Written by: MST on 31/03/2014 14:12:04

Denmark isn't exactly known for its wealth of doom metal bands. Most foreign doom metal fans obviously know Saturnus, but that's about it. However, if you look beneath the surface there are a number of quality bands in most of the subgenres of doom metal in the Danish underground. Today we're dealing with one of those bands, namely Woebegone Obscured and their sophomore album "Marrow Of Dreams". The band has actually existed for quite a while, but with their only other album called "Deathstination" having been released way back in 2007 and their first live performance happening in early 2013, they never left the underground. Now signed to I, Voidhanger Records and playing gigs semi-regularly, the quartet are getting a lot more attention.

There has been somewhat of a change in direction in the years that have passed since Woebegone Obscured's debut album was released. On top of the depressive funeral doom/death metal that "Deathstination" was, the band have added a progressive edge to the mix not unlike what Ahab has done in recent years, but still with that depressive tone on which most of the band's music is built. Another notable change is the focus towards vocalist/drummer Danny Woe's clean vocals added to the existing mix of deep growls and frantic screams. The result is a foundation of crushing doom and a hopeless, depressive atmosphere enhanced by keyboards and effects, which supports the tranquil passages, soaring clean vocals and even what sounds like whales singing in the outro to "Vacuum Ocean".

The five songs on "Marrow Of Dreams" are between 13 and 20 minutes long, making the album a whopping 80 minute opus. Between standard doom passages the band venture into prominently keyboard-led passages of calm melancholy, during which Danny Woe's cleans usually tell tales of depression and sorrow. Danny's technique sounds good, and his range is admirable, but his pronunciation and his flow of words sadly isn't what it should be. Clean vocals can work wonders in this genre, as a band like Mourning Beloveth have proven on numerous albums, but it just doesn't sound right here. Danny's growls and screams are spot on though, both in terms of feeling and technique. The calming passages and use of effects and keyboards are otherwise factors that work in favor of the atmosphere.

The most important part of the type of sound that Woebegone Obscured are trying to confure up here has to be the riffs and the way they're implemented across the whole album. The riffs are there, but few of them stay with you after repeated listens. "Crystal Void" is a good example of a song with plenty of hooks and great riffs, and while it's a pure coincidence that it's also a more traditional doom song with less emphasis on the progressive side of Woebegone's sound, it's definitely my favourite track on the album. It flows excellently within itself, as passages of growls and a great combination of infectious riffs and drumwork are followed by great guitar leads and more tranquil passages; it's just a really well constructed song. But while the album doesn't exactly get boring even after the one hour mark, it never quite reaches far beyond mere approval on the album's four other songs, as many of the riffs and compositions are simply decent.

Since I know most of the band's members personally, it pains me to have to say that something is missing on "Marrow Of Dreams" in terms of song writing. Being one of Denmark's very few extreme doom metal bands however, I still want to encourage fans of the genre to give this one a spin or two, as there are obviously lots of good moments on the album. I'm sure this won't be the last we hear from Woebegone Obscured either, so here's to looking forward to their next outing which will hopefully be more consistent.


Download: Vacuum Ocean, Crystal Void
For The Fans Of: Ahab, Mourning Beloveth, Esoteric
Listen: Facebook

Release date 13.01.2014
I, Voidhanger Records

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