Woe – Withdrawal

by Cory Van der Pol
August 26, 2013 –

woe-withdrawalYour average person perceives music as good and bad, with a whole lot of bad and some good. The truth is more shocking: truly bad is rare like truly good, but the vast majority is just so-so.

So-so occurs not because an album has too much bad, but because it doesn’t have enough good. And this isn’t a by-the-pound determination. It needs to be good in a number of ways, including structurally and conceptually, or it devolves into chaos. Randomness. Disorder.

The average album usually has no defects. The instrumentation is good, the production is good, and individual members put in strong performances. They can write songs according to the book, and often have a unique concept. It just doesn’t hold together because it lacks a central idea.

Withdrawal is an example of a truly bad album. It is not bad because it is incompetent, but because it is whore. Woe takes the techniques of orthodox black metal and applies them to hard rock with touches of indie. This produces disorder with a face value different from its content.

On the surface, this album emulates Gorgoroth and Darkthrone’s Transilvanian Hunger; a little bit under the surface, you find Ulver and Taake. Dig down deep enough and you find recycled Def Leppard and Quiet Riot riffs, with repetitive use of black metalTM technique like blast beats, melodic drone, bad production, and so forth.

As a product, Withdrawal is great because it’s open to everyone. On the surface, it’s rebellion; underneath, it’s the same complacent crap your parents were listening to. Maybe it’s a good pop album; I got bored halfway through. But it’s not black metal.

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4 comments

  • Lord Mosher

    This is a prog rock album from 1973. I’d like to share it with you guys
    because the music is beautiful and is a treat for those who look for the
    Metal Spirit in old school prog rock.

    With titles like “As day breaks” and Lord of the Incubus” this album
    will appeal to fans of Heavy Metal (Merciful Fate, King Diamond, Dark Tranquillity),
    plus the first track is a rock opera that anticipates what Bathory would
    later do on Hammerheart.

    YouTube full album here:
    Fruupp – Future Legends 1973 [Full album]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfL8vABvmlc

  • Linnaeus

    I can’t quite understand how this type of music has any appeal. It seems like shallow “intellectual” emotionalism played in mediocre music. At least some old hard rock had conviction, even if it wasn’t of the most noble subjects.

  • Concerned Citizen

    While I agree with this being awful, I think it’s only as awful as Ulver, Agalloch, and other pretend black metallers could be. It’s not awful enough to stand on its own like a monument to failure (Soulfly), but it could go in the pile of disgrace that is the modern metal scene.