January 13, 2014

Woebegone Obscured - Marrow of Dreams

I, Voidhanger Records has opened a Bandcamp page. Among the albums available you can find Marrow of Dreams, the new release from Danish band Woebegone Obscured. Metal Archives touts them as 'Blackened Funeral Doom/Death Metal' and the PR material lumps them together with Disembowelment, Evoken and Thergothon. This is both right and wrong. Woebegone Obscured is obviously funeral doom, blackened and death too; But the tempo is generally a little higher, and Woebegone Obscured doesn't seem so intent on crushing you under the weight of the music as those three bands (The very non funeral doom cover might also be a giveaway there).

The songs on Marrow of Dreams are like progressive funeral doom symphonies. They cover a lot of ground and touches more genres than the aforementioned. Goth metal. Progressive metal. Traditional doom. Jazz and flamenco even. All the time there is an underrunning current of dissonance (both in playing and feeling) and disquiet. Which makes sense considering that the album is inspired by main man Danny Woe's "long period of time that lead him to deep depression, to a paranoid/schizophrenic disorder diagnosis, and to a seemingly timeless stay at a mental hospital". Danny is listed as sole vocalist and he utilizes an impressive range of styles - from death growls and blackened barks to wavery cleans - to tell his tales of, well, woe.

The production is clear and layered, you can pick out every instrument. Which makes sense, there is a lot to listen to. That also goes for the length of the album, it clocks in at 80 minutes. Which may be too long, at least I could have done without the second song "Vacuum Ocean". It is less adventurous, more plodding, than the others and suffers somewhat from it. The wavery cleans are overdone, and the 'sounds of waves lapping at the shore' thing so clichéed. Plus points for the unhinged blackened vocals, and the whale noises near the end though. But besides that Marrow of Dreams is a successful release. The playing is top notch and there's so much going in the songs that your interest never wanes. The transitions never seem forced, which is paramount in making long, complex, and slow songs work. This is not the harshest doom you'll ever hear, nor the most extreme, but it's pretty damn interesting.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

  1. I probably wouldn't have used the image from a get well card from a Protestant church gift shop as my album cover, but I like the music.

    I don't mind the second track. I wonder if it stands out somewhat unfavorably because it's less boundary-pushing compared to the rest of the album. I don't even mind the ocean sounds, maybe because the "walking in the woods" sound from a slew of Cascadian black metal albums is currently my least favorite ambient sound.

    1. All the little guitar melodies from this album still keep popping up in my head. It's very likable music.