Woe has given us a short but incredibly powerful discography with their three albums. Driven by emotion and laden with harmonies, Woe are often referred to as part of this rather peculiar movement called “post” black metal, which I do not really care for and don’t grasp by my own choice. Post as in the company that makes Raisin Bran? Post as in the word for “mail” in many languages of the world? Anyway, I hate all this ballyhoo about have to add an extra prefix to whichever style of metal you happen to be listening to. It all just seems contrived and forced simply for the sake of marketing. Well enough of all that, onward to Withdrawal!

Delving deep into the recesses of all that is sad and lonely, Withdrawal packs quite the punch and leaves nary a sign of life among the smoldering ruins. A somber melody starts the album with “This Is the End Story” before giving us a total of over six minutes of hate-filled and spiteful black essence. Tracks like “All Bridges Burned” showcase the band at their typical misanthropic and empty best with plenty of grief-stricken melody and accompanied by fierce drumming. The oddly titled “Ceaseless Jaws” (sounds like a third-world knock-off of the Spielberg film to me, then again I’m probably trying too hard) was what I remember being pushed to promote the album before its release, and it’s unrelenting vibe and mesmerizing atmosphere really sucked me in with anticipation for the release. The aptly titled “Exhausted” and the title track closing out the album give you a good idea of what expectations to have at what themes recur throughout Woe’s nefarious machinations.

Again, Woe impress, nay, FLOOR us with a shoegazy, dreamlike release that will surely leave their mark permanently on the map and make American black metal even more of a contender than ever before. If you’ve yet to hear any of their three albums, you’re woefully (pun very much intended!) missing out and need to rectify this, stat! (FA)