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Classic revisited

Woebegone Obscured : Marrow of Dreams

Woebegone Obscured have made a huge step forward and their new 79-minute long album sounds like half this duration.

Iíve been into Doom for quite a long time, and I think I can honestly say I know pretty much every band that, at one point, chose this Metal genre I think the most highly of as their means of expression: I donít always know each and every album they happened to put out, but itís most probable that at least one or two of their songs have come to my ears, eventually.

Woebegone Obscured had something going for them from the start: their name. I mean - "Woebegone Obscured"! Which Doom maniac wouldnít feel the urge to check out the music that lurks behind this cabalistic moniker? I think I remember that this fact - that, and the cover of their debut - was what drew me to them. That first album was a good piece of funerary Death Doom; it gave the feeling it wanted to embrace too much territory at the same time, though, and the sophistication of the music sounded a bit awkward in places, disjointed. That natural flow which makes great albums was missing Ė but there were more than gleams of talent at work, there surely were!

Come 'Marrow of Dreams', the sophomore, come the blossom, come the reward. Again, the cover tells it all, very sincerely: a flower opens to the sunlight. Isnít it Doom alright? No, it isnít. Itís a sign murmured by the band that they have matured, grown away from all their previous influences (like diSEMBOWELMENT).

Woebegone Obscured has become a serene project, sure of its ability to paint original, idiosyncratic, gripping Ė oh-so-gripping - soundscapes. A major change lies in the vocals. The singer is doing a tremendous job at giving relief to the music. Shifting abruptly, and though always swiftly, from rough growls to sharp shrieks to some quite thrilling, goose-pimple-inducing soaring chants. That latter means of expression of his is, to me, what not only raises this sophomore a couple of notches above the first album, but also makes what I hope will be the bandís signature for future up-coming releases. Imagine the effect it gives: such a clean, wailing emotional voice, bursting in the middle of a tempest of violent grunts riding brutal doomy outbreaks. It cuts short the assault with the authority and dignity of a high priest singing some soul-tearing ancient Truth.

The tapestry of moods is complex: beautiful guitar leads dissolve into barbaric, mid-tempo rhythms that in turn leave room for more contemplative passages, which again get lost in crushing, plodding doominess. Itís a very rich, fascinating songwriting that youíre offered witness to. I wasnít prepared for such a thriving evolution, I can tell you!

The band works on some progressive templates, each instrument participating in weaving an ever-changing painting, progressing step by step, cleverly twisting the melodies and still managing to give it a natural flow (one of their major previous flaws is overcome here). Unlike many other extreme Doom bands, they do favour change rather than repetition; the doomy darkness is therefore a bit diluted and tamed: anxiety, depression, dread are expressed in more delicate ways that I deem quite advantageous, considering the brilliant ideas that Woebegone Obscured bring to the table. Just listen to the gorgeous, whirling guitar play and tell me thereíre no rays of hope in there! Well, why not! Thatís what the marrow of dreams is made of, too.

So, kudos to them for having done some self-analysis over ambitions and means. They reassessed their love of Doom Metal in a different way: more personal Ė absolutely personal, and really exciting. Buy this album and be happy, too!

Reviewer's rating: 9/10


Tracklist :
1. Waters of Mount Woe
2. Vacuum Ocean
3. Crystal Void
4. In Suffering Darkness Dwell
5. Into the Mindcloud

Duration : Approx. 79 minutes

Visit the Woebegone Obscured bandpage.

Reviewed on 2014-02-07 by Bertrand Marchal
A Dream Of Poe - The Wraith Uncrowned
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