Age of Woe - An Ill Wind BlowingIt was bound to happen. As I’m sitting here, writing a review of the appropriately titled An Ill Wind Blowing, the second album by Swedish sludgemeisters Age of Woe, I gaze out the rear door and see picturesque blue skies, mild temperate winds, and a garden teeming with life and vibrancy, complete with a Godzilla statue wolfing down some unfortunate garden gnomes. This is all important to note because, just a full day ago, Hurricane Matthew beat the ever-loving shit out everyone in its path through Haiti, the Bahamas, and parts of Florida, including my sleepy neighborhood. From such a horrific event, you gain an appreciation for nature and its Gemini-like coin-toss of both beauty and brutality. “That’s swell,” you’re probably thinking, “but what of the stinkin’ album?!” Ill Wind harnesses that magical beauty of the eye of a chaotic storm.

And “Voices of the Unheard” wastes no time in leveling you flatter than Mario on a Goomba. Between the ominous Neurosis build of the opening riff to the near-Soilent Green change-up just seconds later, the song grabs you by your ankle, flings you against a wall, and challenges you to go toe-to-toe. Guitarists Björn Pettersson and Gonzo Incognito must have studied from the Book of HM-2 God Worship, because there’s no shortage of heft or Entombed catchiness in their riffs. Combined with the L.G. Petrov-after-a-carton-of-Marlboros vocal delivery of Sonny Stark, “Voices of the Unheard” gives little respite. Within the song’s three-minute frame, Age of Woe constructed a suiting visage for aural Armageddon.

Moments of clarity and breathing space pop up when necessary, however, to keep you from fatiguing completely. The instrumental “Kiñe Weza Kuruf Konkey” offers peace and tranquility, a nice little safe haven, before throwing you back into the maelstrom with “Heavy Clouds.” Elsewhere, “Ill Winds” contains some of the catchiest riffs and Sven Lindsten’s heaviest drumming, ensuring extra plays once the album’s barely 36-minute run time ends. Those moments of hooks and respite are necessary, because despite the album’s brief play time, it sounds and feels much longer.

Age of Woe 2016
Part of the problem lies with the production. Despite the heft and pummel of the distorted guitars and drums, the mix cranks everything too loud, losing clarity and color. The single-guitar riffing at :19 of “Heavy Clouds” points this problem out clear as day. Also, André Robsahm’s bass can barely be heard, let alone felt. But the biggest issue comes when the band stretches its decayed wings on longer, more ambitious songs. When condensed to four minutes or less, Age of Woe effectively slaughter all in their path with their crusty, doom-laden hardcore. But when they slow things down and batter you relentlessly for six minutes or more (such as on “Heavy Clouds” and its follow-up “Havens Burn to Cinder”), the velocity wears itself out, wearing the listener out with it.

But I enjoyed Age of Woe‘s brutal take on Swedoom. There is a bright (blight?) future ahead for these five lads if they can hone their edge just a little bit more. As it is, An Ill Wind Blowing is a convincing sophomore album. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I gotta remove the tree branch from near my upstairs bedroom window…


Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: War Anthem Records
Websites: ageofwoe.net | facebook.com/ageofwoe
Release Dates: EU: 2016.10.14 | NA: 10.21.2016

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  • Nag Dammit

    Yet another flatulence related metal album / song title.

  • Eldritch Elitist

    Ah yes, I see that they’re channelling the new Metallica album cover in that band photo. Very good.

    • Reese Burns

      The new Metallica album cover is so bad.

      • Eldritch Elitist

        It’s so fucked!

        • It’s artistic!

        • Reese Burns

          Shit out in five minutes! (Am I doing this right?)

      • The Nerd.GO JAYS
        • Eldritch Elitist

          Yeah, Target Earth’s cover is bad, but I actually kinda love it.

        • Treble Yell

          Leave Away alone, dammit. His work has charm, even if he’s not the most gifted illustrator.

        • Wilhelm

          I quite like this

        • Gaëtan Baratin

          Voivod always has covers like this.

      • Grymm

        The new Metallica album is also so bad.

        • Reese Burns

          Shh, hush you. I thought it was good.

  • Monsterth Goatom

    Doña Cecilia Giménez strikes again!

  • Belgian Tom’s Hat Trick

    Nothing to do about the review, but sorry you were in Matthew’s Path, Grymm. Sorry for all who felt its wrath. Hope you didn’t get hit too hard, well, because, we’re a selfish lot and really just want you to keep posting stuff. But in all sincerety, I hope you and your’s are well and safe.

    • Grymm

      Thanks. Thankfully, we got away with very little damage here (other than a large tree branch landing on our roof, just inches away from my bedroom window). Seeing the aftermath on television was absolutely insane.

      Again, thank you for checking in!

      • Belgian Tom’s Hat Trick

        Well, the AMG offices are all over and we never know where you guys will be. Upon hearing of your plight, we just needed to know that Sir Grymm and any family/friends/fellow staff were safe.

  • Bas

    Something completely different: Grymm it looks like you’ll have to come to the Netherlands next year to see Warning !

    http://www.nocleansinging.com/2016/10/05/seen-and-heard-treurilg-40-watt-sun-warning/#more-115054

    • Grymm

      Funny you mention that, as I’m about to review Patrick Walker’s new 40 Watt Sun album soon!

      • Bas

        I’m looking foward to reading that one !
        That song on nocleansinging… acoustic doom! very nice!