Woe – Quietly, Undramatically

Don’t be fooled by the title of the album, it doesn’t reflect the hate-fuelled black-metal sound peddled by this Philadelphia band.
It seems that every exterior sign of “Quietly, Undramatically” is a bit misleading. In the album’s inlay card there’s a statement that says Woe is “satanic black-metal, hatred is our heart”, yet save for some inverted crosses spotted on the front-cover, the band doesn’t exactly portray an image of a band devoted to Old Nick. Woe doesn’t hear cosmetics, spikes or other artefacts, their lyrics are more thoughtful and philosophical than the usual “hate God, hail Satan” thing and it’s only on second theme “The Road From Recovery” that they fully reveal their hateful impetus, offering thunderous blast beats paired with a malignant amount of raucous riffs. So by now, you should interiorize that we are not before the average black-metal act adherent to the dark side.
Anyone familiar with the band’s history will know that Woe started out as one-man bedroom black-metal act centred on guitarist and vocalist Chris Grigg, yet for this second album Woe morphed into a full fleshed band featuring members of Absu, Woods of Ypres, the Green Evening Requiem, and as consequence this new record sounds more expansive than previous work “A Spell for the Death of Man”.
While said work was absolutely relentless and spiteful from start to finish, “Quietly, Undramatically” shows a more multifaceted and mature craft, shifting into a more textured and melodic style on some occasions that masterfully counterbalances their full-blooded mood. There are moments of near-brilliance here, like the title theme which flirts with prog-intricacies and introduces some clean vocals by Grigg for first time in their career, the epic “Full Circle” that lasts for full 13 minutes and displays some rather tasteful and serpentine riffs.
This is prime U.S. black-metal overflowing with a malevolent impetus that should please both the conservative and liberal fans of the genre.

Band info: www.quietly.woeunholy.com
Label info: www.candlelightrecords.co.uk
For fans of: Black Anvil, Cobalt, Krallice