Woebegone Obscured - _Marrow of Dreams_
(I, Voidhanger Records, 2013)
by: Chaim Drishner (8.5 out of 10)
Woebegone Obscured's previous release, 2007's monstrous _Deathstination_, has been criminally overlooked by the 'metal community' -- this amorphous collective that has been on the road to total reductionism and nihilism, often praising hyped musical garbage while overlooking something as worthy as the aforementioned album, and so on ad nauseam. Woebegone Obscured's previous effort wasn't an easy album to figure out or absorb, but it had its merits, its own black magic, challenging the audience with every dissonant breath it took, offering a unique tapestry of dark funeral-esque landscapes of the highest quality, once the listener's accommodation with the album's innate hostility was completed. It was raw and a tad chaotic and muffled, yet carried a message of total nihilism and despair.

There is no reason to dislike this Danish group's _Marrow of Dreams_ once you manage to 'get' and assimilate the aforementioned _Deathstination_. (You would want to refrain from the word 'enjoyment', as there's really only the slightest of chances one would have actually enjoyed this recording, due to the maximum discordance and strange, crawling pace of the compositions it had offered, virtually devoid of dynamics, at least in the traditional sense of the term.) _Marrow of Dreams_, despite its inhospitable aspects, is infinitely more accessible, refined, melodious and ear-friendly than its predecessor; but that, dear readers, does not diminish its magical aura.

Woebegone Obscured version 2013 are almost a different beast altogether; their metamorphosis involves melody in abundance, a much smoother and articulated production, clear and soft singing passages that induce hypnotic, contemplative daydreaming, and the complete absence of the dissonance that governed the better part of _Deathstination_. The crudeness, the obscure and raw sound that was featured even on the 2011 re-release of the album by the same label, has everything but completely disappeared, transfiguring into something that's light years more refined, gentle and volatile.

In other words: _Marrow of Dreams_ is less challenging, more organized, and exhibits some progressive yet rather linear song structures when compared to the previous album. It's as if a multidimensional compromise or, god forbid!, a sense of commercialization has befallen upon the band members, but not quite. Not quite indeed.

As a stand-alone effort, removed from any attempts of comparing this to the band's 2007 recording (as this would be, in reality, the case for the majority of you who naturally haven't even listened to _Deathstination_ and probably have no idea what's going on in that recording anyway), this tabula rasa approach would have any doom/death metal aficionado out there benefited, for _Marrow of Dreams_ is a fine, fine album. The most obvious proof lies with the fact that every track -- no mater how long it may be -- never, ever induces a sense of boredom within the listener. The tracks are arranged in a super intelligent array of emotional riffs, with highs and lows to every track, where deathly subterranean, earth-shattering growls co-exist with softly sung sad lamentations, and where funeral-paced doom/death mingles effortlessly with progressive rock.

The tracks flow so smoothly and perfectly, leaving while they do a remarkable impression when realizing these masters of songwriting have ultimately created a perfect assembly of sounds that are as captivating as they are alienating.

With hints of Worship, Opeth, early Katatonia and even, dare we say, some infinitesimal scraps of Dream Theater and Gary Moor's bluesy, whining guitar, _Marrow of Dreams_ is almost a perfect artifact of songwriting abilities; a specimen of musical genius in its ability to pull off the trick of inventing a unique brand of heavy music that isn't inaccessible and whose every riff, passage, keyboard stroke, every vocal performance, is perfect in its own right; not only perfect, but also so very mysteriously, sensually and malignantly beautiful.

This artful and exquisite classy album comes as recommended to anyone who's interested in a crash course in the art of inspirational and inventive songwriting that isn't intimidated by experimenting with totally polarized sound aesthetics, that pays attention to the smallest of details. _Marrow of Dreams_ would appeal not only to avid doomsters, but to anyone who appreciates art that's greater than life and darkly mysterious. Ethereal funeral doom, anyone?

Contact: http://www.i-voidhanger.com/

(article published 21/3/2014)

3/3/2015 C Drishner 9 Woebegone Obscured - Deathscape MMXIV
8/13/2012 C Drishner 8 Woebegone Obscured - Deathstination
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