Although ‘Woe’ is not the first album for these Swedes, it was only since this album that I really got hooked by them. Not that the debut album, or the preceding EP, was anything bad – not at all. But sometimes bands do need some extra time to mature, to really reach their peak on a creative level or maybe production wise – or, like in this case, both at the same time. ‘Woe’ was released in Autumn 2022 and was amazingly popular right after the start, with the vinyl issues having sold out within no time. For those interested, there is a repress on its way, expected to arrive in April 2023.
Not only because of the upcoming reprint, but especially because of the amazing musical magic box that is ‘Woe’. The album is so smoothly schizophrenic, so full of kaleidoscopic soundscapes that it hits you in perpetual waves, challenging your intellect. Capturing An Abstract Illusion into a single, fixed box is simply impossible. It takes so many musical ingredients and elements that it blends into such a phenomenal and staggering result it makes you all wobbly when listening to it.
The very foundation of the band is made of an Atmospheric sort of Death and Black Metal, and to that foundation they started building and crafting their own unique creation. The Swedish trio have added lots of progressive elements that easily point towards the best of those 70’s bands, including the use organs and synthesizers, making it all sounds quite interestingly like mid-Opeth-era and mid-Anathema-era at times, maybe even so diverse as Riverside. But they never intended to stop there. Subsequently they have added pieces and parts out of Jazz, Electro and Indie Rock as well as elements that share comparison with such intellectual and progressive Hardcore bands like (the recently re-established) Burst, which, coincidently or not, also happens to be Swedish. But within these boundless borders they also find enough space for blistering blast beats, thundering riffs and hugely impressive vocal performance, making ‘Woe’ not only a Progressive Metal record, but also a true hammering attack at the same time. If you are in doubt, ‘In The Heavens Above, You Will Become A Monster’ would be a good track to check out. Its roaring vocals and blazing drums are not all too far removed from that storming Behemoth-like darkness, yet the tremolo picked melodies do enhance the music to a higher level of ingenuity.
Indeed, this album falls nothing short of being a unique and invigorating experience. If you are looking for either the next Nunslaughter or Wampyric Rites sort of metal record, please look elsewhere, but if you love to be challenged and you are in for a visionary record by musicians who are broadening the musical scope, then ‘Woe’ is definitely worth listening to. If you fall in that latter category, I challenge you to be disappointed with this cracker of an album.