Anyone can be sad. But not everyone can turn that sadness into something transcendent.
What’s the difference? Call it the contrast between having something explained to you and being made to feel that same thing deep inside your bones.
There are a lot of black metal bands out there that make sad music, and I tend to enjoy a large percentage of them. Very few of those bands, though, affect me in the same way as Woeful Silence. And less than two months after the release of their outstanding split with Euphrasia, Swiss multi-instrumentalist Neamhord is already back with a new EP called Shrouds of Decay, which we are delighted to be streaming below.
In my review of the split, I drew several comparisons between Woeful Silence’s music and the various projects of Stéphane “Neige” Paut, particularly Mortifera and early Alcest. The basic approach he uses on Shrouds doesn’t deviate that much from what he was doing on that split. However, the music has evolved in such a way that his influences are much less apparent. I don’t know whether to call that the result of Neamhord becoming more mature as a songwriter or a newfound emotional depth in his playing, but the overall effect is much easier to describe. This time around, he doesn’t really sound like anyone other than himself. Whether it’s the unexpected intervals he uses in the progressions on “Ever Devouring Despair,” the 70’s AM radio feel to some of the riffs in “Shrouds Of Haze,” or the clean vocals on the outro of “Monuments Of Deceit,” he sounds more confident in his own instincts and completely open letting his music follow those instincts wherever they may lead.
In the end, Shrouds of Decay is the sort of record that might ruin your day, but it will do so in the best of all possible ways. Gorgeous and deeply emotional, it further solidifies Woeful Silence’s place as one of the most promising of the newer generation of atmospheric black metal bands.
When asked about the EP, Neamhord said:
It’s kinda hard to find some words for it…
The EP was written and recorded very spontaneously on a weekend in August and is very personal. I kinda went through a lot of shit this summer, which peaked that weekend and summoned this EP.
Musically, I keep dwelling all over the place, with a focus on atmosphere, creating a contrast between chaos and order, or darkness and light…pretty much how life is. I think the songs are more structured and diverse than on the previous split EP, with even more traditional black metal influences at certain points. Besides that, the EP includes stuff which I’ve never tried before, such as the whole song “Shrouds Of Haze,” which just kinda poured out of me…
Lyrically, “Ever Devouring Despair” and “Shrouds Of Haze” are linked to each other, while “Monuments Of Deceit” stands for itself. What the greater meaning behind the lyrics is, I don’t wanna reveal. Everyone can interpret them however they want, or even come to the quite easy conclusion of what they’re actually about.
Shrouds of Decay is available as a name-your-price download and for preorder on cassette from Woeful Slience’s Bandcamp page.
Clayton T. Michaels (Senior Editor) is a mild-mannered college English teacher by day, and a craft beer drinking, black metal and grindcore loving misanthrope by night. He’s also an award-winning poet and rabid Red Sox fan. Send him your promos at [email protected] You can also find him posting pictures of black metal cassettes and beer can labels on Instagram as @ironhops.