Review: “Throne Of Spines” by Woe Betide

As a band, Brighton Death Metallers Woe Betide are on a journey through Metal with a desire to keep things fresh by evolving their sound through a love of the more Technical side while  also citing influences in Opeth, Bleed From Within and Obscura. Currently without a bassist, Kieran Shearer (vocals), Lee Cox (guitar), Jack Roberts (drums) and Charlie Micheal (guitar) dropped this, their debut album in May 2020, recording at Audio Beach Studios in their home town before being mixed, mastered and produced by Wynter Prior (Wounded Not Dead) of Sphynx Studios.

Death becomes clearer through bloodshot eyes in the cold light of day after a wake during which memories are shared and skin fulls of whiskey are sunk and the haunting introduction piece that is “Winters Lament” is the cinematic calm before the storm that belongs in place of something by Hans Zimmer in an epic science fiction horror before “As Skies Turn Black” rampages through the villages, setting fire to the thatched roofs and screaming bloody murder. What Woe Betide haven’t told you is that they have a love of the Symphonic bejewellment and as if Mistiq is involved, there are nuances that burst out of the mix at various points giving everything an evil splendor. Then you’ve got Shearer’s brutal vocal range as he switches seamlessly between two unclean tones, one bark and one shriller style that are layered up to give the impression of two vocalists in places and a Slam roar that is simply throat shredding. They can talk all they want about evolving their sound into something more technical but they have plenty on the technical side already and by the time the dark and brooding “By Means of Fire” hits with Roberts blasting away on the kit and some real Black Metal touches it’s already pretty mind blowing. The breakdowns are brutal, the technical solos adding a vibrancy and the elongated roars of dispair from Shearer are as caustic as they come. He as a demon within him and spits black acid bile with inhuman verve that calls from beyond the void and drags you kicking and screaming into the pit.


The album has riffs for days and groove for weeks and “Black Out The Sun” is a fine example, leaving no stone unturned in the pursuit of perfection in a similar fashion to The Bleeding or Unfathomable Ruination. Somehow they manage to do the unthinkable and inject melody with leads on this one at the same time as going straight Deathcore with a savage collection of breakdowns in between. Building on those melodies with some haunting moments on the dark introspective lyrical dive they is “Course of Self Obliteration” is impressive while the thunderous galloping drums from Roberts are exquisitely executed, the jackhammer footwork delivered with spine shattering ease. A truly harrowing tale, it cuts with razor sharp riffage and inner torment that will resonate with anyone who has suffered at the hands of inner demons with a raw quality that drags out a little more vocally. “Torment The Perished” sees the band joined by Josh McMorran of Bloodshot Dawn and they use that to build on those earlier epic moments with some icy piano work cutting through the brutal guitar work for something that pushes on the extreme boundaries of their sound. That journey continues into the tornado of souls that is the epic finale and title track “Throne of Spines“,  which sees Lou Forte of Derelict Dream join them. Whether Woe Betide see themselves as a Symphonic Death Metal band or not, they certainly have the ability to join the genre leaders when they turn on that style, a whole however the album sees the band experimenting with different sub-genres while maintaining a sound that is distinctively their own. Woe Betide are well on their way with an accomplished debut album that much more seasoned musicians than these would be proud [8/10]

Track listing

  1. Winters Lament
  2. As Skies Turn Black
  3. By Means of Fire
  4. Black out The Sun
  5. Course of Self Obliteration
  6. Torment The Perished (ft. Josh McMorran of Bloodshot Dawn)
  7. Throne of Spines (ft. Lou Forte of Derelict Dream)

Throne Of Spines” by Woe Betide is out now and available over at bandcamp

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