Thursday, May 13, 2010

Woe - A Spell For The Death Of Man (2008)

Origin: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Time:  43:15

2008 - A Spell For the Death of Man

Woe, the now critically acclaimed one-man black metal project from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania based Chris Grigg, has hit home with its first powerful, unrelenting, and surprisingly unique offering on Stronghold Records.  In addition, Stronghold Records, too, is a very new face to the black metal scene, this being only the fourth release in the label's catalogue, and truthfully, perhaps one of the most important black metal releases out today.  In all sincerity, Woe is offering a lot more for the listener than the typical bullshit that we've all come to expect.  Chris has taken the same raw edge and made it personal.  He's not followed a path, copied a progression, or allowed his influences to write the music for him.  This is black metal from the soul, if such a pair can co-exist in all actuality (and indeed may even insult the artist as there are satanic themes to be found in the ritualistic style performed.)

Woe was born in 2007, long after the demise of USBM undergrounders Algol (whom released a split with the well-known face around here, Rory Heikkila, who was performing under the moniker Shroud of Despondency at the time.)  The first offering to the world under Woe came as a split DIY CD self-release with the crusty black thrashers from Philly, Infernal Stronghold.  Limited to 424 copies in four different versions (color-schemed), there weren't many people that were lucky enough to hear the one track that Woe had to offer with Ritual XIV, but those who did manage to grab a copy or who heard the band via myspace had been eagerly awaiting this debut release from this talented musician, and here we are with it finally in our grasps.

As mentioned, this is one of the most important works for black metal in America in the present.  Though the scene in general is breaking free of its mold, the stagnation that has gripped this country's blackened sense of music for some time now, very few are trying to take the music to an entirely new level spiritually and personally.  Woe's “A Spell for the Death of Man” is NOT your typical misanthropic black metal album.  This is a beautiful, moving piece of ferocious aggression.  If walls could be painted with blood in the majestic grandeur that is only seen in our dreams, this would no doubt be the soundtrack.  Movements throughout the album aren't limited by the confines of the black metal genre.  With epic harmonious guitar orchestrations, bound endlessly to post-rock / post-metal atmospheres through laid-back drumming and strummed guitar lines instead of never-ending tremolo picking (though these take up a great deal of the album and DO add so much to the fury bound within), A Spell for the Death of Mankind is nearly intoxicating for those who can really throw their hearts into this music.  There are, indeed, those out there who know what I'm talking about.  Black metal like this is like a drug.  A place where we can finally breathe and fill our lungs with comfort, a place we can't find in the complex normal world of today. 

And as you read this, it should come to mind that there isn't much more that I can say as a journalist to push you towards this incredible release.  If there's one album that you buy in the first half of '09 for what little money people seem to be able to pull together today in this economy, then this is that album for the black metal fans out there.  A Spell for the Death of Man is bleak and depressive, but it shines with the radiance of a million full moons.  People, this is what we've been waiting for, the new USBM. - review by Sage @ Heathen Harvest

Track Listing:
1. Solitude
2. Alone with our Failures
3. Longing is All the will Remain
4. Condemned as Prey
5. I See no Civilization
6. Wake in Mourning
7. Memento Mori

 Here's an album that I forgot I had until a couple of days ago.  As soon as I pressed play I remembered why I loved this album so much.   
Check them out HERE and HERE



  1. Just commenting to say that as a fan of Black/doom, this looked like a good download. Haven't listened to it yet but I will soon. Thanks

  2. Woe's latest album is fucking excellent.


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