Everyone who has read a few of my reviews in the past knows that I’m a sucker for outstandingly ambient music. Today I’m glad to present an album to you which was able to satisfy my need for this style of music in the best way possible. Worm Ouroboros is a doom metal project hailing from Oakland, USA. Their new album, What Graceless Dawn, is a concept record full of intricate songwriting, ethereal ambiance and calming vocals.
The album starts with the track “Day” and ends with “Night”, which is kind of clever. So let’s talk about “Day” first. The track feels in its core like a very long introduction to the album. It starts off with a clean guitar, picking only single notes, while a female voice takes the spotlight with her whispered vocals that seem omnipresent in the huge ambient mix of the album. The reverb can only be described as cathedral-like, fitting the album’s almost reverent atmosphere. While it is the calmer side of the doom metal genre, it feels more intense than a lot of gritty and brooding records out there. After a short while, the bass kicks in and is soon followed by the drums. “Day” is exemplary of the album’s progression. Everything moves forward gradually and builds. The cohesiveness of the album is mind–blowing. In the middle of the song, a second female voice whispers softly, barely audible and breaks the numb droning the album has achieved. Near the end, the track gets noisier and the guitar seems to hold back a barrage of fuzz and grit that is sure to engulf the listener in the tangible atmosphere of the album.
The next song, “Broken Movements”, shows the harsher side of the record. While the track begins relatively harmlessly, it builds into a massive instrumental. With reverb and delay, the bass and guitar are able to create an incredibly large soundscape around them that almost sounds orchestral in nature. This wave of sound is only briefly broken by a few short clean bursts, which shine through the droning instrumental like sunrays through dark clouds, “Broken Movements” is not to be taken lightly. This band certainly has their songwriting figured out. Gradually, the song gets more and more mellow and comes to a full stop on a clean riff, exactly as it began.
What Graceless Dawn is an epic journey that has to be discovered. The album is something one should experience; it isn’t something one can just take one song out of and play it. It is so dense and cohesive that it grips you from the first song and doesn’t let you go even after the album ends. I can recommend this to everyone who likes ambient music or is into doom. The female whisper vocals give the record an almost occult flavor, and the song writing is interesting, although quite minimalist. I hope to hear a lot more of Worm Ouroboros in the future and wish them the best of luck.
FFO: Bell Witch, Amber Asylum
Notable Tracks: “Broken Movements”, “Suffering Tree”