Finally, the weekend is upon us. What better way to kick it off than with the latest installment of "Funeral Doom Friday". For those who are new to this column; each week features a new or classic album from the realm of extreme doom. Much of funeral/death doom's might comes from an oppressive emotional weight and the use of death or black metal motifs (played at a trudging pace, of course.)
Pioneers like Mournful Congregation, Evoken, and Esoteric have mastered this blend of dirge and destruction. For 25 years, they have methodically built compositions that stretch for dozens of minutes all while keeping fans enthralled. Time has elapsed since the days of Thergothon and much like the world around us, the genre has evolved. Today's modern bands contort the very construct of the genre, breeding darkly refreshing new work. Their work thankfully gives this column plenty of material to share.
We last heard from Denmark's Woebegone Obscured back in the fall of 2016. The trio hailing from the Midtjylland released a self-titled EP almost two years ago. Now, they've released a much-desired follow up in the form of the full-length record, The Forestroamer. At the time, the self-titled EP was an indicator of a full-length to come. The two tracks from the EP were released well in advance of a full-length—two years it seems. It's not certain whether the tracks are in conjunction with this new record though because The Forestroamer is significantly different than their previous work.
Woebegone Obscured gave up some of the blackened motifs on their previous effort in lieu of progressive stylings. It's a sidestep for the band—something they haven't really tried before. The band released a poignant statement about their new album and the time between releases saying, "This album is going far beyond the territories that we have explored with our music so far. We hope that it will take you into our world and give you an insight into our visions of (non-)existence. A lot has been going on in our lives these past years, so this music is very personal, painfully crafted over many years, and used as a collective catharsis by the minds behind its creation."
Distant crows and airy guitar chords open "The Memory and the Thought." The ten and a half minute opener foreshadows the immersive tone of the album as a whole. The band does an excellent job marrying solemn sections of deep growls and rolling doom to ambient passages with subtle tinges of progressive stylings. For instance, the latter portions of "Drømmefald" have a moment where jazzy, BTBAM-esque notes dance around before almost operatic vocals carry the remaining few minutes of the track.
Elsewhere, the title track uses a similar juxtaposition of styles. The main difference comes from the more lurching death and funeral doom moments compared to the groovier sections in the previous tracks. To add to the sinister qualities of the title track, a layer of synths rides beneath the rest of the instruments. Ultimately, Woebegone Obscured blends their notes together in a riveting recipe of old habits and new ideas.
Stream the new effort from the Denmark trio now. Pick up a copy of The Forestroamer from Bandcamp too. Also, side note: the album artwork is one of the coolest pieces in recent memory.