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Myriad Woes

Poland Country of Origin: Poland

Myriad Woes
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Type: Full-Length
Release Date: March 29th, 2024
Genre: Black, Doom
1. Inner Whispers
2. Spark
3. Efforts To Fail
4. Horns Of Dread
5. No More Shall The Boulder Descend

Review by TheOneNeverSeen on March 19, 2024.

When it comes to Polish black metal, I sometimes sadly run into Mgła clones that are trying to match the might of M.'s riffing but fail. The gladder I was to discover Above Aurora, a band that, while clearly being influenced by Mgła, is very creative in terms of its style and uneven in terms of its discography. Their new album with an epic title Myriad Woes certainly matches the level of my personal favorite The Shrine of Deterioration, for each song managed to evoke strong feelings, while the band keeps experimenting with their style – something they were always good at.

The first thing I’d like to note about this release is that, like its predecessor, it offers a curious blend of black and doom metal. While doom is among my least favorite metal subgenres which, despite constantly getting acquainted with new bands in, I still can’t get into, I do appreciate doom elements when they are well used (Paradise Lost’s Medusa, for example) and Above Aurora has mostly been great at that throughout their career (probably aside from the debut release which was largely a hit-and-miss for me with songs quality varying drastically). In their new album they are also good at combining apocalyptic black metal rampage with doom metal pounding monotonousness.

It's hard to say anything general about Myriad Woes because of how diverse it is. While the consistency of The Shrine of Deterioration was hard to match considering every single song on that album was solid and memorable, on their new release the band offers much more creativity, not only making each track stand out, but also constantly disrupting the flow of each song with use of different tempos, harmonies, varying drumming, etc. So, as with everything in life, it’s better to look at the individual parts rather than the general picture.

'Inner Whispers' stands out not only because of its length (which is especially notable considering Above Aurora never had a song this long before), but also because of how many feelings this length allows the band to express within the song. An instrumental track with a sinister intro, unnerving voice samples and... an organ? at 07:00 and 10:00, it is a true symphony of decay that, after a bit 'Your Disposal'-reminiscent buzzy riff plunges you into a flow of anxiety with great blast beats, then takes you out for another repetitive yet not boring riff and then again throws you on the ground consumed by despair like the person on the album cover. I would like to note that, while "slow" drumming on this song and other songs on the album may be monotonous at times, it’s never the "bad" kind of monotonous like on 'Delusional Disorder', but rather the "good" kind of monotonous like on 'Abyssal Hade', with changing patterns, sporadic blast beats and, at one point, greater use of cymbals all aiding to enrich the listening experience.

A track I’d like to contrast 'Inner Whispers' to is the second one, 'Spark'. While shorter and more straight-to-the-point, it nonetheless offers multiple tempos and a great catchy riff matching the level of, say, 'Barren Lore', not to mention the avalanche of sound at 02:11 reminding me of that of the second half of 'Path to Ruin'. The use of sound in the right channel only preceding this blow of energy is particularly notable, as are the immensely beautiful harmonies. While the other three tracks are also solid and memorable with their Mgła-like riffs, I chose to compare the first two to demonstrate the diversity of the record and that the band is equally good at executing a lengthier melancholic song (which it has already showed on, say, 'Virus') and a shorter black metal march.

So, while this album matches its predecessors’ vocals (also inspired by Mgła, although I would say they are angrier than M.’s), black-doomness and overall quality, how does it differ from them? The production is largely different from all other Above Aurora releases. It is much cleaner, which, while sacrificing the crunchy bass that was an important part of 'Barren Lore' and 'Splinters' and is only really notable at one point in 'Horns of Dread' fits the atmosphere of the band’s music much better. While not being overly Polished (get it?), it enhances the album’s engrossing melodies as well as the more uneven drumming. I totally support the change, as, as much as I love The Shrine of Deterioration, its production wouldn’t emphasize the harmonies of this record nearly as well.

Myriad Woes is a great black-doom release, an Above Aurora masterpiece. It shows how much the band gains by being creative and unleashing the might of its music in all forms it can possibly use. A truly memorable release I will definitely come back to.

Rating: 9 out of 10