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Dogbane - Idylls Of Woe Award winner

Idylls Of Woe
by Joseth Radiant at 11 August 2019, 12:23 AM

DOGBANE describes itself as Traditional / NWOBHM-inspired Heavy Metal with a touch of Doom. “Idylls of Woe” marks the third album for these North Carolinian Metalheads that are damned determined to place its banner upon the blood-drenched mountain of the Traditional Heavy Metal scene. In a metal scene where each album’s performances are almost too perfect, these songs are a bit sloppy, imperfect, and carrying all of the charms of how Heavy Metal was during its formative years. “No pro tooling, no triggered drums, and no auto-tune here…just as the old gods' demand…So put your helmets on, crack open a cold beer and come along!” There’s hardly a better description of what this music is meant for, which is sweat-stained battle vests, headbanging long hair, and having a fist-pumping liver-thrashing good time.

I’ve been living in North Carolina for over ten years, having transplanted here from the Midwest in 2009 for better work opportunities and milder winters. Getting into Heavy Metal and all of its subgenres since, it’s been a pleasant surprise to discover the musical heritage of my new home state as well as discovering its incredibly strong link to the Heavy Metal scene, with groups such as WIDOW, WEEDEATER, BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME, FIREHOUSE, and many more to make their mark upon the world. DOGBANE is poised to do the same and settles for no less than domination. Between the crushing mid-paced drive of tunes such as “The One I Was Warned Of”, “Now You Know”, “Sin Eater”, and the slow, sludgy sounds of “Riddle of Steel”, “Land of Shadows”, “Winter Of Man’s Demise”, the listener will find that DOGBANE is not content to have all of its songs sound exactly the same. Younger bands should pay attention to this because there are far too many of them out there where their songs are nothing more than a boring variation of the lead single. Yes, the old guard has much to teach us youngsters about what Heavy Metal is all about.

The strongest song on “Idylls Of Woe” undoubtedly has to be “Blood In The Snow”. Not only because the story is true, but because it establishes Heavy Metal’s roots in Bluegrass Music. The song opens and closes with snippets of THE STANLEY BROTHERS’ tune “The Story of the Lawson Family”, which is based upon the truth of the heinous acts of Charlie Lawson in the small mountain town of Germanton, North Carolina in 1929. After receiving a head injury from which he never fully recovered, Charlie Lawson murdered his entire family in cold blood and then proceeded to kill himself. The fact that this is a true story with the additional use of THE STANLEY BROTHERS’ song makes you feel like you’re watching a horror movie and gives you the chills when you consider that these terrible acts happened. While recent events with shootings remind us that mental instability can lead people to commit acts of pure horror, the sad reminder with this song is that the depravity of man is not something new or buzzworthy. It’s been around for as long as we’ve been here.

If you want to listen to pristinely perfect Heavy Metal, look elsewhere. Bear in mind, I don’t mind listening to pristinely perfect Heavy Metal. It has its place. Devin Townsend is a great example of a pristinely perfect Heavy Metal artist that has not lost his soul. But, if you want a soundtrack to a fun night out with your mates as you cruise around town looking for trouble and danger, then “Idylls Of Woe” is the album to blast through you 6x9” speakers as you tear down the highway. The imperfections of the songs lend a certain charm and are a refreshing break from albums that have been edited and auto-tuned to death. These guys might be longer in the tooth than most of us, but DOGBANE still has a lot of piss and vinegar left in the tank to kick some arse. This was album was a lot of fun to consume, and for those of us that appreciate how music was made by the greats, this certainly will be a delight. And yes, as always, BUY THIS ALBUM!!!

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 10
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. The One I Was Warned Of
2. Devil’s Tramping Ground
3. Blood In The Snow
4. Riddle Of Steel
5. Land Of Shadows
6. Now You Know
7. Winter Of Man’s Demise
8. Sin Eater
Mitchell Allred - Lead Guitars
Jerry Cloer - Drums, Percussion
Kevin Davis - Bass, Backing Vocals
Jeff Neal - Vocals
Jeff Rinehart - Lead Guitars, Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Record Label: Heaven And Hell Records


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Edited 21 January 2020

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