Woe - Quietly, Undramatically
With such a crusty, brutal sound and harrowing, honest emotion, you might think that Woe are the black metal band Husker Du (listen to the blistering "Without Logic" and not think "Zen Arcade") might have become had money, coke and Joan Rivers not come calling. "Quietly, Undramatically" is a heavy slab of metal, with introspective, brittle moments that, behind the world-weary rasp of Chris Grigg, is shocking in its candor.
Woe was originally Grigg's solo project, and the multi-instrumentalist held his own quite well on his 2008 debut, "A Spell for the Death of Man," though that release was more or less a raging hate-screed typical of the genre. Grigg even used a black metal pseudonym, "Xos." But there is nothing stylized this time around, just pure punked up raw power.
Though Grigg is still the prime mover, a more or less set band rounds out the power of the songs. The rhythm section, the brothers Madden (Evan on drums and Shane on bass) give Grigg's vocals and guitar a heavy solid bottom-and killer grooves- from which to soar. And from the relentless ("No Solitude," "Hatred is Our Heart") to the melodic, mini-epic (the title track, "Full Circle"), Woe punishes but with a bare-bones, light on the atmosphere heavy on the riff-that makes this seven song gem one record to seek out.
From the bowels of Philadelphia, Woe come to us with fury and skill, and "Quietly, Undramatically" proves that to be a deadly combination. This is dark stuff, of course, but when volume and groove make your blood boil and pulse quicken, that feels like a positive rush to me.
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