Woebegone Obscured - _Deathscape MMXIV_
(Solitude Productions, 2014)
by: Chaim Drishner (9 out of 10)
42 minutes and change, and this is still regarded as an EP? Go figure. Anyway, changing labels from the obscure and prestigious I, Voidhanger to the extremely enthusiastic Solitude Productions, Woebegone Obscured have returned with yet another doom anomaly, continuing their mellowing process and delving deeper into their own bizarre world -- first seen on their previous and wonderful effort _Marrow of Dreams_, now even more accentuated on this recording. However, Woebegone Obscured's music still kicks some major ass, never mind the softening and refinement this Danish band have undergone.

Even though the riffs and playing paradigm of the album's metallic part all scream doom/death, the vocalist manoeuvres successfully between shrills of the black metal school and the baritone voice of the epic doom metal movement; he even allows his most gentle phase to surface, when he's actually singing in this velvety, dreamy voice of his in some substantial chunks throughout the recording.

Comprised of three original tracks and two covers (Bathory and Dead Can Dance), this album showcases the power of inventiveness and creativity brought to you by one of the most intriguing bands in existence; a band that time and again reinvent themselves from scratch and open yet another door to yet another dimension in the vast realm of dark music.

Epic and cosmic, _Deathscape MMXIV_ exhibits some of the most magical moments modern music has ever known. This album contains some vocal performances and compositions that are purely sublime, alongside some truly menacing pieces of dark metallic essence. Dodging any coherent classification, this album's three original songs drench in deep mystery and paradox; they showcase exceptional musical finesse, exquisite array of emotional transducers and transponders, profound grasp of the notion of atmosphere and they embrace the idea of originality in both hands.

This time, the vocalist is the superstar, the beast that pulls the music's caravan behind it. His multifaceted vocals pour a meaning into the music; they brighten the music, making it a kaleidoscope of colors that increase in brightness, going from the vivid and lavish to the blindingly bright. Those same vocals can also blacken the atmosphere and color it with somber energy and negative sentiments.

_Deathscape MMXIV_ to doom metal is what Opeth's _Morningrise_ was to black/death metal back in the day: it exhibits metal's most majestic moments, allowing itself to flirt with progressive / art rock as well as with the most ear-friendly compositions, yet still sounding like a towering beast of metal and blood and guts.

The only other thing that separates the two aforementioned albums other than their different stylistic choices, is that Woebegone Obscured sound more inventive and bolder than Opeth have ever been. Woebegone Obscured successfully flirt with several aesthetics that are in themselves very foreign, even estranged, to one another, yet somehow this band have craftily managed to weld them seamlessly into this sonic marvel.

The couple of cover tracks also get a unique treatment by this talented group of musicians. The classic Bathory track becomes a fucking funeral doom monster of a song, and the Dead Can Dance track gets a dreamy, almost celestial interpretation and thus becomes one of this album's highlights, as well as one of the most beautiful pieces of progressive rock/metal out there.

Listening to _Deathscape MMXIV_ equals dreaming in an ethereal garden, as the title of the third track suggests ("While Dreaming in the Ethereal Garden"), and in truth, one couldn't think of a more befitting title for the experience of listening to this album; a dream-state inducing surreal visions of despair and hope, of the Garden of Eden and the torture chambers of the soul; delightful yet dangerous; juicy yet poisonous; sublime yet Stygian. This is doom (forget about the 'metal' factor of this album, for metal is only one side of this multisided coin) music like doom music hasn't been realized before; artistic, grand, sensual, uplifting and pummelling all at once -- a fascinating and intriguing release, if there ever was one.

(article published 3/3/2015)

3/21/2014 C Drishner 8.5 Woebegone Obscured - Marrow of Dreams
8/13/2012 C Drishner 8 Woebegone Obscured - Deathstination
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