Worm Ouroboros – What Graceless Dawn (Profound Lore)

Thursday, 15th December 2016
Rating: 8.5/10

Worm Ouroboros don’t release albums very often, but when they do, it’s like that pleasant wall of mist that hits your face after a rainstorm. For plenty of us, that rainstorm is the maelstrom that is underground metal, where Worm Ouroboros has a seat at the table. Their 2010 self-titled debut and 2012 follow-up Come the Thaw were in equal measure gentle, concerted offerings, graced by the composed vocal layers from Lorraine Rath and Jessica Way. On What Graceless Dawn, Rath and Way, along with drummer Aesop Dekker (ex-Agalloch) have for the third time, created dark, meditative music that crosses sonic platforms like few bands can.

Delicate builds and careful, it not sensitive vocal interplay remain the band’s true calling card. Rath and Way play off each other; sometimes one goes out in front, with the other pitching in on the harmony. Other times, they’re in synch, heightening the senses and draw. Of particular note is “Broken Movements,” which is held down by Dekker’s simple tom action, while supple guitar strokes create atmosphere without mounds of synths or phony orchestration. “Ribbon of Shadow” emerges from the fog to be the album’s highlight, where a rare spurt of guided heaviness cuts off WO’s perfected display of space and tension. And Way’s lead guitar melodies here are a studied measure in simple beauty.

While it is easy to pack on the adjectives when discussing Worm Ouroboros’s music, the fact is they’re one of the most distinctive bands in the underground. They are never in a rush, and because so, What Graceless Dawn unfolds in a way that the journey is simply the reward.

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