Reviewed: February 2019
Released: 2019, Undergroove
Reviewer: Kieron Hayes
Woven Man are a fresh new UK band (Wales specifically), and present their debut album in Revelry (In Our Arms). Their stated focus is Welsh culture and landscape, though this is done a bit more subtly than you might expect. Rather than an onslaught of Welsh folk instruments (I’m sure they exist), this focus is conveyed more through the general lyrical themes, which centre around nature.
Musically we have something more akin to Down or Kyuss than Korpiklaani or Ensiferum, and combined with that lyrical direction, I can’t help but imagine the band as a group of badass druids. Most of what’s on offer here treads the line between stoner and sludge metal, carrying some of the natural infectiousness and fun attitude of the former but with an abrasive edge of the latter. Think Orange Goblin and Karma to Burn and you’re on the right lines.
It makes for a nice overall mixture: at times it’s rough and gritty, with crunching riffs and pummelling drums. But then at other times it’ll let a more melodic, playful side take over. It’s most audible in “Calling Down the Leaves”, which opens with banjo plucking, then bursts into sudden life, and really has fun in its chorus. “With Willow” brings this to the fore as well. It’s never a dramatic genre shift, rather a smooth changing of gears and revelation of something beneath the surface. Every so often it’ll ease back on the heaviness (while still maintaining it in the background) and let something more bouncy and rocking come through. It almost sounds like Kvelertak’s distinctive rot ‘n’ roll style, though less of an extreme contrast.
The best of the bunch here is solidly “Of Sky and Land”. The core riff and rhythm of this one hits that perfect sweet spot of drive and repetition for good stoner/sludge catchiness. “Summon the tempest!” indeed! The central riff is thick and crushing, fresh out of a Crowbar album, while the chorus has a stoner swagger that would do the aforementioned Orange Goblin proud.
All told, this is a decent first offering from the band. It could do with a bit more honing to focus more of the songs into the region of quality “Of Sky and Land” has, but the rest of them still do their job admirably. Woven Man are a welcome addition to the sonic landscape.
1.) Calling Down the Leaves
2.) I Am Mountain
3.) With Willow
4.) Maker’s Mark
5.) Of Sky and Land
Lee Roy Davies
Muddy George Brown