Woccon - _Solace in Decay_
(Deathbound Records, 2014)
by: Dan Lake (8.5 out of 10)
No, fuck you, Woccon! Fuck you and then some. I know this is your first trip 'round the carousel or whatever, that _Solace in Decay_ is your first full-length album, and you can't be expected to know all the ropes, to be hip to what's what, but somebody's got to be the one to knock the young pups back down to the dirt where the rest of us live. I'll be that guy. I'll be that guy right now.

When you call your album's first track "Introduction", that track must comply with introduction standards: a 70-to-90-second scrap of underdeveloped semi-ambient fluff too inane to pass for an outtake from a Mogwai rehearsal after a full-band heroin overdose, much less make the cut of a metal record. If you go around making stuff like that into a fully realized, kickass rock song, then where the hell are the rest of us supposed to put our half-witted filler? Up our asses that you've kicked? Dammit! Seriously.

If you haven't figured it out yet, Woccon do not screw around. From first note to last (a track called "Wandering" which, at nearly ten minutes, refuses to wander or be aimless in any way, but again kicks many asses with its totally tight and well composed awesomeness) Woccon have constructed a debut that works over hearts and minds, necks and pumping fists with equal attention. _Solace in Decay_ is a monstrous helping of melodic death/doom, that paradox of uplifting despair that these guys somehow imported from northern Europe and managed to transplant successfully into their Athens, GA soil. Most bands take ├╝ber pains to be pretty when they decide to, or trample it greedily in fits of adolescent exuberance, but Woccon just let it all happen naturally and allow gorgeous leads and rippling piano to coexist with the flesh-pummeling metal. The result is a soul-enveloping album that refuses to let go until the disc stops spinning. Each song is its own journey over rocky mountain ridges, through blizzard-locked ice caverns, into new havens of personal strength you've never before experienced.

Admittedly, there are some odd editing choices -- song-ends fading so quick it sounds like a fidgety hand on the knob, the off-kilter full-stop near the beginning of "Valadilene" -- but that's hardly a real complaint. The album's title describes the music's effect better than most: this is thoughtful, open-hearted heavy music with an alluring personality and killer tunes. Well played, Woccon. Now go write a damn introduction that reinstates my belief that this field recording of wind and tree frogs is still freaking genius. Please.

Contact: http://deathboundrecords.bandcamp.com/album/solace-in-decay

(article published 27/11/2014)

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