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The new face of depressive metal - 100%

YggdrasilinBlight, August 10th, 2008

Lost in a wind of thorns and petals, debut full length from USBM act Woe, “A Spell for the Death of Man,” has so much emotion cut in, that it’s hard to believe it all comes from one person. Xos is the asphyxiated soul behind all instruments and vocals. Woe strums the sound of loss and determination to reach an end, depressing as you reluctantly breathe in the odor of raw, atmospheric black metal with an underlying scent of originality. Once you hear them, these tunes will find a new home blasting through your stereo.

The first pill bottle opened is the largest, bordering nine minutes long. “Solitude” contains a melancholic guitar, catalyst to hollow riffs digging deeper and deeper until morphing into a haze of instrumentation and throat destroying screams. Some headbanging swagger makes an entrance as the song’s many textures rise and fall. “Alone with Our Failures” begins with less melancholy and more attitude as you journey further into the ruptured mind of Xos, whose yelling/shrieking vocals, seem to progress in desperation throughout the album. “Condemned as Pray” is aggressive and Xos’ cries are very lifting and raw. This song gives you the feeling of being trapped in a dark shed, gagged and bound amongst shadows, forced to get into the mindset of a predator to survive. Woe's inspiration of the choking grip of an overpopulation of mindless beings and empty shells is felt strongly. Next method of self-harm “No Civilization,” is full of passion. From its very first moment, a cascading guitar streams over. This fire burns for just under eight minutes. The guitars and vocals are certainly the key pieces of the music and give each track a sullen passion. The lonely haze of “Memento Mori” is a refreshing way to end as it’s different from the rest of the album. Everything moves much slower and just fades away into the black.

Woe is an unique experience, being suicidal black metal that still embraces a very moving groove. Supremely intense, “A Spell for the Death of Man” is an atmospheric beast, birthed by the unstoppable force of Xos’ skill. This is the light being shined straight into your eyes as you enter a catatonic state and a must have album for everyone who craves a fix of depraved black metal and isn’t afraid to have their soul vitiated.