Another excellent product churned out by the always prolific, also from the qualitative point of view, Solitude Productions. This time it’s the turn of the Belorussians Woe Unto Me to be brought to the forefront of the European doom scene: the band, led by the excellent Artyom Serdyuk, is described as dedicated to funeral doom but it is evident, from the very first notes, how the approach is definitely more intimate, almost suffused at times, without the sense of palpable melancholy that distinguishes the genre being somehow scratched. A Step Into The Waters Of Forgetfulness is in fact a work that deviates from the classic funeral coordinates, even if without distorting them, precisely because Woe Unto Me opt for long compositions as per the script, which however particularly emphasize the successful combination between the clean vocals of the excellent Sergey Puchok and the acoustic scores, always characterized by a certain underlying elegance. The use of vocals is really the added value of the work: Artyom’s growl is kept to a minimum, carving out the role of adequate support for Sergey’s evocative timbre (at certain times comparable to a less emphatic Eric Clayton), and the same happens with the female counterpoint, which has mostly a supporting role. All this is achieved in the best possible way in the final track, the long and dramatic Angels To Die, which is, of all, the episode most in keeping with the label associated with the band, while the first three tracks live even more on the decisive contribution of acoustic suggestions, especially the initial Slough Of Despond, which starts with crystal clear tones before abandoning itself to the more usual funereal rhythms. The value of a work like A Step Into The Waters Of Forgetfulness lies in the will of the Belorussian guys to search with continuity a more personal way to express their melancholic mood without falling with both feet in the, however welcome, clichés of the genre. An operation that fully succeeds thanks to the undoubted technical skills exhibited by the Grodno combo: evidently, despite the fact that this record is in fact a long-distance debut, it denotes a musical journey that is anything but banal made by the individual musicians before embarking on this work. Woe Unto Me might appeal to the users of the most melodic funeral music but, considering their brilliant and multifaceted proposal, they could also make a breach in the hearts of those who love melancholic and rarefied sounds, not necessarily associated with extreme doom. Great work and another pleasant surprise, it’s always a pleasure to risk appearing repetitive every time you find yourself praising doom bands from north-eastern Europe.

2014 – Solitude Productions