The Belarusians Woe Unto Me are one of the most important acts in their country, and not only in the strictly doom sphere; starting out as a band essentially dedicated to funeral doom, but already with a marked tendency towards oblique sounds, after a first full length of interesting depth such as A Step into the Waters of Forgetfulness (2014), with the subsequent Among the Lightened Skies the Voidness Flashed (2017), the band led by Artem Serdyuk had gone on to a work structured on a double CD that, although plagued by a certain redundancy, highlighted their remarkable compositional talent and the variety of solutions in their quiver. The Spiral-Shaped Hopewreck ep released two years ago, however, seemed to have definitively moved the Minsk band into a context with progressive and alternative pulses, almost completely sacrificing the funeral component. Fortunately, at least for those who love this type of sound, the latest album Along the Meandering Ordeals, Reshape the Pivot of Harmony brings Woe Unto Me back into their initial stylistic fold, thanks to a work made up of five tracks of great value that offer over an hour of a sound always on the edge between the heaviness of extreme doom (with the use of growl) and atmospheric openings accompanied by clean vocals that also bring to mind certain works by Opeth, a possible term of comparison especially as regards the progressive component of the sound. The first track Mired Down in the Innermost Thicket shows slowdowns and darkness that Woe Unto Me had not introduced in their compositions for a long time, including a splendid solo guitar work in the second half; the second is instead the title track taken from the previous Ep, which is actually the episode that overall turns out to be closer to those Opethian tendencies mentioned earlier, even if among all those present in that work was the more oriented to a certain heaviness and darkness. The rest of the album unravels according to these coordinates and, despite its objective length, the Belarusians always manage to keep the listener captivated, and this is a great merit on their part, as it is by no means trivial to propose such a full-bodied and complex work without making the numerous variations in rhythm and atmosphere cloying, while still maintaining a certain fluidity and homogeneity of sound and confirming their achievement of top-class status in the subgenre.
2023 – M-Theory Audio
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