Woe drop surprise, examine the terrifying strains of life with devastating EP ‘A Violent Dread’

Photo by Jonathan McPhail

I would imagine the anti-anxiety drug makers are doing pretty well about now. I’m on them. I know several other people who are on them. They’re practically necessary to survive what we face day to day, not just when we leave the house but when we get online and absorb ourselves in the hell pit that is social media. How could anyone make it without a little help from the benzos?

Brooklyn-based black metal band Woe are not immune to the daily cycle of death (both mental and physical damages) and the constant blame cycle. It’s a rough terrain out there that is unforgiving, and they turned more attention to that on their last LP, 2017’s “Hope Attrition.” Like a surprise visitor here to help you fight the battles, the band returned last week with a surprise EP “A Violent Dread” that continues to examine our relentless destruction of one another. The release is a two-track affair containing the title cut and a cover of a classic song by Dawn, a criminally underappreciated Swedish band whose discography was just reissued two years ago by Century Media. This EP is compact and devastating, and it’s another teeth sharpening by the band—guitarist/vocalist Chris Grigg, guitarist Matt Mewton, bassist/vocalist Grzesiek Czapla, drummer Lev Weinstein—that’s never pulled punches and likely won’t start anytime soon.

We start with the title track, a 9:15-long affair that gets off to a raucous start with riffs flooding and raspy shouts delivering blows. The track sludges and crushes, cutting a mean swath through chaos as the guitars build up and Griggs’ growls slice into meat. Things head off to the races, letting the intensity bubble and your heart to race a little faster. Later on, the drumming turns stone to dust, and a round of melodic riffs set up shop and keep your mind occupied during the fiery explosion. Growls burst and swim through the manic, yet channeled playing, and the track delivers a final kill shot before ending in rubble. The band’s take on “The Knell and the World,” the opening track  from Dawn’s 1998 “Slaughtersun (Crown of the Triarchy)”, is a pretty honest reading from the band, right down to the synth lines that create fog that rises throughout the song while they pay homage to a group that Grigg said stands as one of his favorites. It’s a really strong version of the song that hopefully will send more people checking out Dawn’s powerful, albeit small, catalog of work.

Life’s not going to improve anytime soon, if it ever does, so we may always need a little something to quell the anxiety and pain eating away at our souls at pretty much every turn. Woe’s music always has been a perfect partner for releasing your aggression, and “A Violent Dread” won’t make you feel better about existence but should harden your fist whenever the need to fight arises. This is music for a worrisome and worrying era, a voice in the hopeless night that’s at least insisting it has your back as long as you’re struggling for a just cause.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/woeunholy

To buy the album, go here: https://woeunholy.bandcamp.com/

Or here: https://vendettarecords.bigcartel.com/

For more on the label, go here: https://vendettarecords.wordpress.com/