Woe Unto Me - Along The Meandering Ordeals, Reshape The Pivot Of Harmony (M-Theory Audio)
One of the most radical branches in the world of extreme music, few sub-genres push the limits quite like funeral doom metal. Often times a blackened canvas painted over with shades of agony and emptiness, the final product is not always hopeless and helpless. In fact, in the thirty years since funeral doom was first heard in the works of Thergothon, Skepticism, and Mournful Congregation, many albums have gone on to be seen as bleak, yet beautiful.
Such is the case with Along The Meandering Ordeals, Reshape The Pivot Of Harmony, the third album from Woe Unto Me. Based in Grodno, Belarus, a city founded nearly 900 years ago and with roots extending even further back in tie, the album in many ways channels this ancient history. The result is something that feels old and wise, intimidating yet familiar; a welcoming force into a realm unknown.
"Mired Down In The Innermost Thicket" begins the album like a slow walk into an immense forest. Time stands still here, but in doing so, there is an opportunity to take in the surroundings: a place to reflect. "Spiral-Shaped Hopewreck," originally released on an EP of the same name in 2021, perfectly balances the dual vocals of Igor Kovalev on the clean side with guitarist Artem Serdyuk's growls. The midway of the song is a lush soundscape of acoustic guitars under mystic leads, paired with hypnotic drum and bass work.
At the heart of the album is "Blood-Black Nothingness Stops Spinning", an emotional powerhouse that combines the atmospheric and lonesome qualities of funeral doom metal with progressive passages. Familiar elements of Paradise Lost, Doom:Vs, and later works of Anathema come to mind, while maintaining a unique sound that demands replay after replay.
In keeping with funeral doom metal tradition, the songs on the album are few but lengthy, each averaging no less than twelve minutes long. Indeed, closer "The Great Waste Of Withered Pipedreams" comes in at over fourteen minutes. Still, like any great doom metal album, Along The Meandering Ordeals... defies time and each song is an incredible and captivating experience.
The Metal Mayan review:
I was in a very dark headspace when I received this album, and I was a bit wary of diving into anything too doomy. That said, I am sincerely glad I gave this album a chance because, while it is very much a doom album, it was actually very healing. This seems to be point of the record right down to the deliberately highlighted letters in the album's title, which eagle eyed viewer will read as "M-O-R-P-H" (see album artwork above).
"Blood-Black Nothingness Stops Spinning" makes me crave solitude, but in a positive way. The melodies create a longing for a place to rest and to realign. While I can't easily pursue that at this time, the places that come to mind are in themselves a respite from the storms of reality.
As I've said before, doom metal should be an experience, and an excellent doom album should create a place far from where the listener sits or stands in the real world. Without a doubt, Woe Unto Me has certainly exceeded these expectations and have created something melancholy and miraculous.
Pick up a copy of Along The Meandering Ordeals, Reshape The Pivot Of Harmony, out now on M-Theory Audio.
Advanced copy courtesy of Secret Service PR and M-Theory Audio