Talk about a misleading album title! "Quietly" and "undramatically" aren't exactly the first words that spring to mind when I think of this album. Quietly, Undramatically is dominated by chaotic blastbeat-drumming, lo-fi vocals, and plenty of noisy guitar work. This is modern black metal in its rawest, purest form - if you're looking for a recent black metal album that's absolutely filthy in its execution and chaotic in its songwriting, this definitely isn't a bad place to turn. Woe may have some kinks to work out before completely winning over this reviewer, but this is a strong effort that is one of the best I've heard from the Philadelphia-area black metal scene.
Considering that Woe is a band known for rejecting black metal clichés (corpse paint, fake names, etc.), it's surprising that their music is a fairly standard old school black metal affair. That's not a bad thing at all (for me, at least), but I find it a bit ironic considering Woe's notoriety for rejecting the traditional black metal stereotypes. I guess the band's originality lies in their significant distance from most of the modern black metal pioneers. This album sounds like it could've come straight from the early 90's - the influences from the early Norwegian black metal scene is simply unavoidable. There are also touches of more avant-influenced bands like Blut Aus Nord or Deathspell Omega. I love the Woe's raw, balls-out attitude; it's rare to come across a black metal band nowadays that embraces such an unpolished sound. Quietly, Undramatically will take a few listens to sink in due to its dissonance and overall brutal sound; only a few melodic sections grabbed me from first listen. The raw, unpolished (but still great-sounding) production can also make the first listen a bit underwhelming.
Although I wasn't completely blown away by Quietly Undramatically (unlike most black metal fans), it's still a strong and highly recommendable effort from Woe. They're one of America's strongest modern old-school black metal exports, and that certainly shouldn't go unnoticed. People who like their black metal to be raw and filthy, but still have a touch of melody every now and again should enjoy this one. 3.5 stars are well-deserved.
1. No Solitude (2:31)
2. The Road From Recovery (6:01)
3. Quietly, Undramatically (8:04)
4. A Treatise On Control (6:22)
5. Without Logic (2:24)
6. Full Circle (12:58)
7. Hatred Is Our Heart (4:50)