A heavy polluted sky and industrial chimneys mark the nihilistic artwork. The title of this album is not less pessimistic. “Hope Attrition”. WOE create a dark and hopeless imagery for their forth full-length. Although this attitude continues on wide parts of their music, it does not picture the whole range of this album.
At the first listen “Hope Attrition” is a relatively straight and aggressive release. Grimm and frostbitten guitars create a cold atmosphere. Harsh blastbeats support the direct and more brutal moments of this record. Combined with the nasty screams it surely is a nihilistic USBM release. Especially the opening track “Unending Call Of Woe” transports this raw message.
But WOE have both a great sense for harmonies and arrangements. Those elements set in in “No Blood Has Honor” latest and show the more playful and manifold side of the band. Morbid melodies exchange with pushing blastbeats and grimm atmosphere. “The Din Of The Mourning” takes this ingredients to another level, showcasing the excellent song-writing abilities of WOE in a fantastic track. The development of this number is fluent and coherent, mixing in even some slight moments of punk beats and clean vocals. Its variety is simply outstanding.
And of course “The Ones We Lost” or “Drown Us With Greatness” are just slightly inferior. The earlier surprises again with great harmonies, this time on the bass as well, and an awesome flow from harsh to cold to majestic and epic. The later mixes some morbid melodies with little moments of hope. It is a nice contrast to the dark and dystopic imagery of the artwork and album title but fits perfectly in the overall picture of “Hope Attrition”. Same for the instrumental interlude “A Distant Epitaph” which calm chinking prepares the blazing start of “The Din Of The Mourning”.
For me, “Unending Call Of Woe” made the access into “Hope Attrition” a little bit hard. It is not a bad song. But the other ones caught me from the first second. The combination of furious and harsh aggression with cold atmosphere, morbid harmonies and awesome song-structures is outstanding. It fulfills the expectations fuelled by the dark artwork and exceeds them at ease. A really strong (US) black metal album.