Woe, ‘Quietly, Undramatically’ — New Album
Philadelphia probably isn’t the first place you’d think of when you’re talking about extreme metal, but bubbling beneath the City of Brotherly Love’s grimy surface lies a viciously potent underground. It’s spearheaded by the efforts of a small number of die-hard individuals — many of whom spend time in the same bands and practice spaces, playing the same shows.
Take, for instance, up-and-coming black metallers Woe. They were originally conceived as a one-man project, but then Woe’s debut full-length, ‘A Spell for the Death of Man,’ garnered rave reviews from media and fans alike, prompting Chris Grigg to assemble a live lineup that has slowly morphed into a permanent band. Noisecreep had a quick chat with the founder and main man to see just exactly who Woe are these days.
“Woe in 2010 is Evan Madden on drums, Shane Madden on bass, Ben Brand on guitar, with me handling vocals and guitar as well. Matt Moore and Grzesiek Czapla are still very much a part of Woe and will keep playing with us and contributing to albums when possible, even if it’s just in a ‘guest’ context. Being in Woe is sort of like being in prison. Once a con, always a con.”
All four of Woe’s current members play in blackened death/doom band the Green Evening Requiem, and Grigg makes sure to keep busy as sin with other endeavors, as well.
“I drum and contribute vocals for a grindcore band called Unrest, though we’re going to have to change our name in the near future,” he reveals. “The goal was to sound like Nasum, and we pull it off pretty well, though these days we’re working on stuff that’s more Swedish death metal than grindcore. I’m involved with American black metal great Krieg. On the new album, I play drums. … Nobody is ever in Krieg, of course, and my ability to play basically whatever instrument we need plus record makes me a good teammate for Mr. N Imperial, but I know my place and am grateful for any involvement and collaboration he desires.
“Beyond these, I also engineer bands out of my home studio, BS1, and as a freelancer in other studios. I’ve worked mostly with local bands — Infernal Stronghold, Nothing Is Over and an upcoming Dirt Worshiper full-length to name a few — but since I started offering mastering services, I’ve got some work outside of the area. I also built and operate phillymetal.com, which our scene uses to network and coordinate stuff. In other words, I stay busy!”
Woe’s latest release and first for Candlelight Records is entitled ‘Quietly, Undramatically,’ and is due out worldwide on Oct. 12. Grigg comments, “I see ‘Quietly, Undramatically’ as the grown-up version of ‘A Spell …’ It’s still angry, it still has problems, but it thinks about them more and reacts more seriously and deliberately. I wanted to get away from evil-sounding Scandinavian black metal to focus on more emotive, dynamic ideas. I’m particularly proud of different pieces of every song, but overall the title track and ‘Full Circle’ really do it for me.”
One especially interesting element on the new record is the inclusion of clean — gasp! — vocals, the decision to add which Grigg struggled with before coming to a conclusion.
“I reminded myself that I need to act in the interest of the music,” Grigg reasons. “‘Selling out’ is doing something that you wouldn’t do in the interest of selling records. Isn’t not doing something just as bad? The only reason I didn’t want to do it was because I was scared of what the reaction would be. Not including the vocals that I wanted would have been a breach of integrity.”