Legacies Of Frailty
Review by Vladimir on September 28, 2023.
Not long ago, I had the opportunity to check out the US black metal band Woe, while having the pleasure of reviewing their third album Withdrawal from 2013. That album was a pleasant surprise and it exceeded my expectations, but what really got me excited was their upcoming album Legacies Of Frailty, which marks the band’s fifth full-length album and it is set to be released on September 29th via Vendetta Records. Although my past experience with this band turned out to be great, the real question is, would this experience also prove to be as successful or even more so? Let’s find out…
The band once again uses the traditional elements of black metal such as tremolo picking riffs alongside some melodic guitar work, double-bass drums, blast beats and harsh guttural vocals by Chris Grigg, which already kicks things off from the first track 'Fresh Chaos Greets The Dawn'. The second track 'Scavenger Prophets' brings back some of that classic Woe stuff like breakdowns and the maniacal shouting vocals. Some other interesting bits that you’ll find are the alternative picking chord riffs and also some reverse blast beats on the third track 'The Justice Of Gnashing Teeth'. The songwriting on this album seems pretty simple and straightforward, songs are mostly consisted of your traditional elements of modern-day black metal, which won’t give you a hard time while transitioning from one song to another. Although I did manage to find something worth the attention on this album, something that was evidently missing were some of the special moments that made their past works one of a kind. First off, the signature hardcore elements are somewhat absent on this album and there is very little presence of their trademark sound which made them stand out, especially on Withdrawal. The band this time opted for a different approach which both vocally and instrumentally leans towards some modern black metal outfits like Gaerea or Mgla, even the songwriting feels a bit too formulaic and isn’t as dynamic as it used to be. I admit that I did not follow up on the band’s change of style and sound in the meantime after hearing Withdrawal, but despite that, I still felt craving for those moments from their third album that left me speechless. No one says that it is forbidden for bands to mature or move past their established grounds, yet there are times when the band’s do it the right way that won’t make the fans feel like the band lost their touch or completely erased their magic. On the positive side, one of the highlights of this album would definitely be the cover art titled “Anguish and the Great Fire”, which was done by Khaos Dictator Design, whom you may also know as Atterigner from bands such as Triumfall and Nadsvest, mostly known for singing on Gorgoroth’s album "Instinctus Bestialis". Even in the past I adored his artworks, but this one just hits differently and it’s amazing to look at, especially because it reminds me a bit of “Fall of Rome”, almost like a modern interpretation of that art. The sound production is very high quality, although a bit too sterile for my personal taste, which makes the album sound a bit overproduced.
In the end, I will say that I do feel a bit guilty for having these mixed feelings about Legacies Of Frailty, but looking aside these personal nitpicks that I mentioned, I think that this still comes off as a solid album that you should still give a chance to if you're interested. It may not be as good as I hoped it would be, but on the other hand, I didn’t feel utterly underwhelmed from the entire output that Woe cemented on this album. This album is suitable for modern black metal fans who enjoy this kind of simplistic and straightforward approach, so feel free to give it a go if you still haven’t checked it out yet.
Rating: 7.6 out of 10392