I felt a not a small trepidation when the PR info for WOE’s fifth mentioned “many layers of overdubs”, given founder/songwriter Chris Grigg’s propensity for scaled back and tightly wound blackness just this side of primitive, but when ‘Fresh Chaos Greets The Dawn’ rose slowly in the sable sky, only to be wound in multi-tracked guitars and rhythmic pulses, I wanted to be sold. I really, really wanted to be sold. There are moments when things sounding out of control and deranged is ideal, is not only welcomed, but vital. This just sounds slipshod and unbalanced, containing very little to hold onto from a concentration standpoint, so already the mind wanders.
After a recovery in the form of ‘Scavenger Prophets’, ‘The Justice Of Gnashing Teeth’ begins its nearly 10-minute traipse through our aural canals. Yes, layers piled upon layers here, but where the likes of MELECHESCH and SEPTICFLESH do so with purpose, and with an end result in clear focus, Griggs seems largely content to toss as many ingredients into his stew as suits him with little regard for the song. Moments do stand out, though. The midpoint [4:00-5:22] flourishes the way I wish the album had long before, an almost early KATATONIA vibe with what I’d like to think is a flute but likely isn’t joining the melancholy before bursting into a hard-charging rhythm, leads and riffs dueling it out like mad swordsmen.
‘Shores Of Extinction’ keeps the level of interest up sufficiently, largely due to the guitars, which surge and slash, weave and wane, presenting an example of what black metal and shoegaze could sound like when comingled correctly. Unfortunately, closer ‘Far Beyond The Fracture Of The Sky’ places its bookend on Legacies Of Frailty with what could basically be reverse mirror image of ‘Fresh Chaos Greets…’, and, while Griggs may have intended it this way, it turns what could’ve been, with a few key changes, a groundbreaking WOE album into a vanity project of the highest (but lowest) order, and confirms that this is very much his band. Maybe time to loosen the reins a bit, songwriting-wise?
Review By: Lord Randall
Legacies Of Frailty