Gaining high acclaim since being released, this second album from Woe captures many essences long forgotten in the art of metal. Emotions swell to overflowing, production is tight but riffs still feel minimalist and mesmeric and each track feels like a dagger in the heart of the disenfranchised. With members of Krieg, The Green Evening Requiem and Woods of Ypres, you know that a wealth of talent has come together to draw upon forces of unending malevolence.

While overwhelmingly black in nature, Woe‘s brand of metal often summons up plenty of orthodox and traditional moments to really offer an eclectic melange of grimness. Even the packaging keeps it simple and bleak, with nary a band member’s face to be found amongst its monochromatic machinations. We can truly say that for a fairly new band, Woe completely abandons any amateur hour attempts at “dabbling” at black metal so common in downtown urban districts. No thanks, as these guys clearly take it quite a bit more seriously than some pathetic excuse to party. Their connection to the art and its emotional roller coaster is pervasive from start to finish, as is their passion to deliver a stern warning to all of us that an age of misanthropy is imminent.

Woe envelops us with a spell woven from the darkest of human feelings, those same ones we’ve all been told to suppress but knowing that we can’t and that doing so does more harm than good. Rarely does a modern release grasp me like this and also demand multiple partakings. This is a total breath of fresh air for an otherwise limp and decrepit scene. Easily one of 2010’s top underground releases! (FA)