Ok, so this review is going to be biased, and I will fully admit this right off the bat. I am a fan of Chris Grigg, the mastermind of Brooklyn based USBM stalwarts Woe. He is a good dude. In a time when that’s more important to me than ever, that goes a long way. Thankfully, he just made a fantastic fucking record, so I don’t have to pretend to enjoy it for the sake of our internet friendship. Woe has made slightly atmospheric, mostly aggressive black metal in a style that does not pantomime nor derive fully from elsewhere. As cliche as it is to say, they truly have created their own niche.
Hope Attrition is a different sort of Woe record. Where previous efforts such as Withdrawal and A Spell For the Death of Man had fervor and fury to spare, Hope Attrition sounds as if those records have been on a few full cycles of steroids. The songwriting is clearly Grigg’s, in the vein of Dissection, Sacaramentum, and maybe a little Emperor, but holy shit do the vocals sound PISSED. Replacing his mostly high register shrieks, Grigg finds himself hitting lows that would sit comfortably on a death metal album, but work stunningly well here.
It should be abundantly clear from song titles such as “No Blood Has Honor” that Hope Attrition is a politically and morally charged record. While normally when you hear the phrase “Political” in relation to black metal, you get ready to explain to your friends that “you just like the riffs!” that isn’t the case here. This is political in the spirit of bands such as Amebix, Disrupt, and other counterculture staples who believed in fighting for progress. Hope Attrition is a battle cry, it is a statement to wake the fuck up, fight for what matters to you, and at the same time, be good to your fellow man. These are extremely subversive ideas in extreme metal, especially in black metal. They’re also damn refreshing, and the aural execution of these ideas is quite gripping.
TLDR: Listen to Woe because they’re awesome and not nazi pieces of shit, and there’s way too many nazi pieces of shit everywhere.
Release Date: March 17th, 2017
Label: Vendetta Records
Favorite Tracks: “No Blood Has Honor”, “The Ones We Lost”
For Fans Of: Sacramentum, Ultha, Emperor