Worm Ouroboros - What Graceless Dawn album review

A rambling masterclass in ethereal morbidity

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Worm Ouroboros have been refining a skeletal reimagining of doom metal’s unseen neo- folk core for the best part of a decade, so they deserve credit for being ahead of the ‘chamber doom’ game. Assuming you’re willing to succumb to the glacial sprawl of songs like 14-minute centrepiece Ribbon Of Shadow, there is much exquisite torture to be enjoyed here.

The way Jessica Way’s spidery guitar melodies combine with the fractious, whispered vocal mantras she shares with bassist Lorraine Rath owes as much to The Cure and Cocteau Twins as it does to SubRosa, but everything is delivered at snail’s pace and with a hint of icy detachment that’s more Mazzy Star than Moss. WO’s echo- drenched austerity makes the closing Night, in particular, feel like some ageless, sober hymn to dark forces. If there is a downside, it’s that for all the trio’s earnest intensity, some of these songs are several minutes too long and occasionally seem more aimless than fluid. But when What Graceless Dawn does catch your eye, there’s no looking away.