Lice - Woe Betide You review




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Reviewer:
7.3

6 users:
7.00
Band: Lice
Album: Woe Betide You
Release date: May 2019


01. Beyond Eternal Recurrence
02. Layers Of Dirt
03. Towards Reality
04. Level Below
05. Roadkill
06. Pride Eraser
07. ...And So The Ceaseless Murmur Of The World Came To An End


Who knew a Shining-Teitanblood collaboration would sound nothing like either of those bands.

Woe Betide You is almost remarkable in concept and dare I say unique musically, beginning with a pillow-soft intro befitting a modern Anathema release, and ending with some oddly placed Baroness worship mixed in with spoken word passages. Yet, this is a black metal album. I mean, it features all the characteristics of a black metal album, so you'd be right in calling it that. Right? It's definitely more than just that though. Or at least it tries to be so much more than that, but this level of ambition is so often met with missed opportunity, and this one misses big. These guys clearly shot for the stars, but their aim is on par with your average Stormtrooper, and are thus adrift in space now. And they're likely just as content to be there as before this album was ever even thought of.

This is an inherently challenging release, with unconventional song structures that are prone to abandoning multiple ideas in constant pursuit of something different, never to return to their beginnings. It wouldn't be fair to say this is poorly written, as there's an obvious understanding of time signatures and experimental soundscapes, and yet these songs leave the listener with an empty feeling as a result of the songs lacking closure. It's like a bad one-night stand. What you're doing is fun, but without a sense of completion, you walk away unsatisfied. This seems like a deliberate choice though, not an unintended one, and so it's more a matter of what this Lice project is aiming to do rather than not knowing what to do. Based on this release, it appears they're entirely self-interested, as if finding an audience is irrelevant. They're Patrick Bateman flexing in the mirror, you're one of the prostitutes. To reiterate: They're contently adrift in that void.

Coming back to what this is, you'd be hard-pressed to narrow it down. With so many instances of genre-hopping, the progressive and avant-garde tags tend to make more sense, even though none of these genre debates will concern the trio behind the music. Music which is extremely well-executed, as that hasn't been expressed until now. The audible playful bass, technical and sporadic drum work, and jazz-influenced riffing are all handled masterfully, it's just too bad all that skill isn't put to better use to explore more of the story before moving on. It should also be noted that, for once, Kvarforth doesn't come across bigger than the band, as the focus is centered on the music (which is a welcome change, but out of character for him). His typical vocals are on display, with more emphasis on his throaty clean form, but more reserved -- tired sounding, disinterested. It's difficult to tell whether that's a stylistic choice or a personal inflection, but it doesn't really affect anything in a positive or negative way. He's just kind of there, another instrument in the mix.

With so much going on and only 47 minutes to digest it, this calls for another time where maybe the run time could have been added to if it meant writing conclusive songs rather than trying to pack random ideas together and changing gears haphazardly. Or, crazier idea but bear with me, save some of the incomplete ideas for future material and work on finishing what you started with. Woe Betide You may have missed the mark, but there's a lot of promise with this group. Until they fix these issues, though, Lice is just a name to keep on a list of bands you hope one day get it together and drop a masterpiece.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 10
Songwriting: 5
Originality: 9
Production: 8


 



Written on 03.10.2019 by Just another opinionated guy telling you what to listen to.


Comments

Comments: 3   Visited by: 55 users
04.10.2019 - 11:20
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
I remember being so confused and constantly checking if I was listening to the right album
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Take off those stupid glasses and kiss me
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04.10.2019 - 17:57
Troy Killjoy
perfunctionist
Written by RaduP on 04.10.2019 at 11:20

I remember being so confused and constantly checking if I was listening to the right album

Same. I didn't know ahead of time that this was even a collaborative effort between two bands, and at first I was pointing out how it sounded like a Kvarforth impersonator accidentally auditioned for the wrong band during a random jam session.

Such a confusing release.
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I have no memory of this place.
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04.10.2019 - 20:14
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by Troy Killjoy on 04.10.2019 at 17:57

Same. I didn't know ahead of time that this was even a collaborative effort between two bands, and at first I was pointing out how it sounded like a Kvarforth impersonator accidentally auditioned for the wrong band during a random jam session.

Such a confusing release.

I'm pretty sure this one leaked from a parallel universe. No way this logically exists in ours.
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Take off those stupid glasses and kiss me
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