Reviewed: September, 2018
Released: 2018, Aesthetic Death
Reviewer: Kieron Hayes
It seems like too cliché a criticism to say I find funeral doom dull. It is, after all, a genre based around the idea of slow, repetitive and minimalist doom metal, its very nature is not one meant to grab attention. But it -is- meant to be immersive, and I do find that too many bands fall short in that regard, seeming content to write up a single basic riff, play it to death and call it a day.
Thankfully, Woebegone Obscured (a band with a name so doom-laden I’m not sure whether to be impressed or embarrassed) manage to avoid this by bringing some death-doom into the mix and keeping things more varied than some others.
Two of the five tracks on here are shorter, interlude-y offerings, so there are three main songs, each surpassing the 10 minute mark. The album is also produced by no less than Dan Swanö, so it’s no real surprise that the sound quality is up there.
After an ominous intro, “Drømmefald” lurches forward with equally evocative bass, like the creatures in the dark inching ever-closer. “The Memory and the Thought” is a bit less focused, but in its own way still shows off the band’s willingness to change up aspects of the music as they go, while still maintaining the vicious, churning atmosphere. “Forestroamer” opens with some alternation between harsh, driven parts and softer, gentle ones, before the song proper kicks in. When it does, it ascends into something dark and divine, straying into atmospheric black metal territory with layered, choral vocals and additional effects like the tolling of a bell.
All of the songs have some of what makes the album stand out for me, and that’s variety. The drums won’t just stick a single, simple beat, but will throw out blast beats and other pacing changes as needed. The vocals will move between clean, mournful wails, harsh, brittle snarls and sonorous gurgles. The overall atmosphere is unified and effective, but doesn’t get bogged down in being too repetitive, owing as much to the early work of classic death-doom groups like My Dying Bride as they do to more typical funeral doom ones.