It’s been a little while since Danish funeral doomsters Woebegone Obscured last skulked onto my music system, with 2014’s dramatic ‘Deathscape MMXIV’. Apparently, there’s been a self-titled EP released in the interim, but sorry lads, I missed that one.
‘The Forestroamer’ is the new full-length recording, and despite being only 5 tracks long, still packs in just over 40 minutes of blackened misery.
It’s pretty much business as usual for these guys. Slow melancholic grooves with progressive overtones, and some grand, yearning vocal work. But here, the harsher elements are more apparent, with doomy chugging chords and deathly vocals invading the gloom more strongly.
Every song is pretty epic sounding and the forest ambience of ‘The Memory and the Thought’ sets the tone well. Crusty doom chords, shimmering lead guitar lines, and some atmospheric keys underpinning the blackened death vocals, and also the clean singing. (It may occasionally sound a little overwrought at times, but you get used to it.)
Things take a more overtly black metal tone with the lengthy ‘Drømmefald’, the clean guitar intro and crackling flames may begin to set you at ease, but the Marduk style gargling vox and blast beats are sure to get your attention. There’s even a bass solo! (Courtesy of Kasper Szydlowski from Sol).
The instrumental whispers of ‘Crimson Echoes’ threaten to get things a little TOO mellow, but as the track eases into ‘The Forestroamer’, Woebegone Obscured unleash another special guest.
Natalie Koskinen (Shape of Despair) offers some stunning vocals that work well with Danny Woe’s impassioned pleas, and the feel and restraint shown in the drumming is a great counter-point to the track’s nastier stabs.
‘Dormant in the Black Woods’ continues the woody atmospheres, and this owl infused hymn shows a more razor-like approach to the guitars, that rounds out an inventive album, that managers to operate on a grand scale in a short amount of time.
The band themselves state that Woebegone Obscured is “…a musical rendition of the longing for somewhere out of this world”, and though it may take a few spins to fully appreciate, ‘The Forestroamer’ is an immersive and impressive album, and their journey is well worth exploring.
(7.5/10 Stuart Carroll)