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Quietly, Undramatically

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Album Review

Let's say that someone who had never heard Woe was asked to guess, based on their name, what type of metal they performed. A logical guess would be doom metal; the name Woe certainly has a doom-ish appeal. But no, Woe aren't doom metal. Their focus is black metal, and they demonstrate that black metal can be both raw and melodic on Quietly, Undramatically. This 2010 release, which is Woe's second full-length album, marks the recording debut of Woe as an actual band; on 2008's A Spell for the Death of Man, Woe was a one-man solo project executed by Philadelphia-based singer/multi-instrumentalist Chris Grigg. But with the addition of bassist Shane Madden and drummer Evan Madden, Woe became a full-fledged band, and the interesting thing is the way Woe the band are primal and nuanced at the same time. In black metal, there has been bad blood between the symphonic bands (which are known for being melodic, using keyboards extensively, and valuing studio polish and production gloss) and the not-so-nuanced, purist bands that believe in keeping things tough, rugged, and brutal; Woe don't fall into either category. Quietly, Undramatically is decidedly melodic, but Woe avoid the keyboards and production gloss that symphonic black metal bands typically favor, and they clearly appreciate the punk-drenched rawness that characterized the black metal pioneers of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. So with Quietly, Undramatically, one is getting an album that cannot be lumped in with either the unrelenting viciousness of Marduk and Gorgoroth, or the polish and gloss of Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir. Another intriguing thing about Woe is the fact that they project a streetwise image that is more typical of hardcore, metalcore, and punk than black metal, which often operates in the fantasy realm; Woe's members don't wear corpse paint or use pseudonyms (two of black metal's trademarks). Further, Woe's lyrics favor angst-ridden introspection rather than odes to the Occult or Nordic/Viking mythology. Put all those things together, and it is evident that Woe aren't afraid to follow their own black metal path on the memorable Quietly, Undramatically.

Quietly, Undramatically, Woe
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