Weeping Sores – False Confession [Things You Might Have Missed 2019]

Ferrous Beuller

When I think of death metal and the extreme corners of doom, I instinctively reach for anatomical allegories. There’s something about the genres’ process and pulse that freely lends itself to the mechanics of biology. It’s an obvious conclusion when considering how organic musical extremity can be. Doug Moore is a man who knows a little something about genre genetics. His main vehicle Pyrrhon regularly divides opinion with a never-ending array of mutations and irregularities. His death-doom project Weeping Sores is not born of a similar strain but bears plenty of its creator’s anomalous genius. False Confession follows 2018’s self-titled EP as another remarkable encapsulation of everything that makes doom such a compelling genre. But, crucially, it never forgoes the terrible tenets of death metal in its bid to breath life into a cruel and composite creation.

Most death-doom bands solely rely on the ghoulish pilfering of guttural vocals to augment their melancholy material. Weeping Sores reinforces Peaceville’s early oeuvre with a calcified backbone of death metal to support a branching musculature. “Scars Whispering Secret Tongues” matches gentle dissonance with intensely memorable yet capricious rhythms. The propulsive mid-pace is buoyed by the efforts of drummer Stephen Schwegler (Pyrrhon) who compliments Moore’s substantial riffing with a battery of fills and half-beats to emphasize the album’s acceleration. It’s to the absolute credit of False Confession’s shrewd song writing that even the most jarring cuts retain their immersive quality. “Transfiguration of Flesh into Dream” vomits an Incantation over plodding tempos that build to a furious closing furor. The song, like the album, is both pained and necessary. Like a cherished accumulation of anguish.

If death is the result then doom is almost certainly the journey and Weeping Sores never forgets that. False Confession’s rhythmic pallet is often aggressive, but the album never wants for mood. As each riff pounds the hide, Gina Hendrika Eygenhuysen’s stunning violin is ever present to shepherd the blooming lividty. The writing process knowingly utilizes her as a limbic system. As a result, her feature as emotional barometer ensures the songs never clumsily slip from beauty to beast. The strings either exist to quell fevered verses or work as a foundation for the music to inconsolably bleed from. “Song of Embers” and “The Leech Called Shame” follow deeply lachrymose lines that contrast Moore’s combination of cavernous growls and searing screams. Alternatively, “Valediction Prayer” sees Eygenhuysen effecting a swaying melody that realizes the song’s lead. The whole is recognizably more than the sum of its gangrenous parts.

Arcane rain falls and flowers wither as the annual dance of December souls serenades the gothic close of another year. Both death and doom metal are evocative by nature and False Confession straddles each genre with rare ability, defining heart by both function and philosophy. Before 2019 gasps its last, make sure at least some of Weeping Sores’ body of work doesn’t go unnoticed. The band’s ability to parse life from death isn’t unique, but reminds us that our lives are strangely constructed, and that we are bound by slight ligaments to both prosperity and ruin. But most of all, it reminds us that no matter how monstrous it might appear, music is unerringly human.

Tracks to Check Out: All of them. Buy the album.

Cherd of Doom

Something special happened when Warren Ellis joined Nick Cave’s backing band The Bad Seeds. Primarily a violinist, although adept at many instruments, Ellis both subtly and fundamentally changed the DNA of the band. His violin performances and string arrangements have added emotive elegance and bombast to post 2000 Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds releases, but his collaboration with Cave has especially shined in their film score work. Ellis’ strings are more than just pretty window dressing. Yes, they can be “A Rather Lovely Thing,” but they can also be anxious, menacing or jaunty. I can see a bit of Warren Ellis in violinist Gina Hendrika Eygenhuysen, who joined half of Pyrrhon to form New York death doom band Weeping Sores. Like Ellis, her contributions on sophomore effort False Confession are no mere surface details, but are tightly woven into the fabric of the band’s identity.

Nick Cave didn’t need Ellis to be successful. His legendary career was already two decades old when Ellis joined, so it wasn’t a case of finally finding the right thing, rather, it was adding strength to strength. Again, the same can be said about Weeping Sores. Guitarist/vocalist/bassist Doug Moore and drummer Stephen Schwegler have already proved their musical chops in the free-jazz death metal of Pyrrhon. Not only is their death doom work also top notch, but I (greatly) prefer it. Moore’s riffs build on a sturdy old-school foundation, but are apt to veer unexpectedly or pass through sections of deconstruction before picking back up where they left off. This is not to say they aren’t cohesive, as “Scars Whispering Secret Tongues” uses Peaceville-like guitar lines as a structural backbone, while the central riff in closer “Sink Beneath the Waves” is pretty damn hummable. As for Schwegler’s drumming, he’s far more than just a time keeper. His restless rhythms flow beautifully from sturdy framework to off-kilter counterpoint to the melodies and death chugs.

All this to say, even without Hendrika Eygenhuysen’s contributions, False Confession is full of rock solid death doom, but with her, it is elevated to another level altogether. We first hear her nimble strings replace the guitar melody about two thirds of the way through opener “Scars Whispering Secret Tongues,” and it’s a *muah* chef’s kiss moment. She follows that up with passages on “Song of Embers” that somehow remind me of 19th Century parlor music, and goddamn if it isn’t another *muah* chef’s kiss moment. By the time False Confession ends, I’ve chef kissed so much my fingers are wrinkled prunes and I’ve accidentally eaten one down to the first knuckle. She saves the best for last, as “Sink Beneath the Waves” shows her at her most lovely, yet haunting, again calling to mind Ellis’ soundtrack work with Nick Cave.

Violin in metal, as in most “popular” music, is almost always used as a counterpoint. It’s a kind of topping. With Weeping Sores, it’s baked right into the death doom pie. If there is any counterpoint running through False Confession, it’s Moore’s disgustingly deep death growls, which would normally be found in cavern-core of funeral doom. But, like everything else on this album, they work beautifully. There has been an embarrassment of doom riches in 2019, but nothing quite like Weeping Sores.

Sores to pick at: “Scars Whispering Secret Tongues,” “The Leech Called Shame,” “Sink Beneath the Waves”

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