Hey! Listen to Woe Monger!

No, not Warmonger; today’s band is Woe Monger, a new sludgy hardcore band out of Vancouver whose demo was released on Bandcamp just last week.

And yes, “sludgy hardcore” is probably the most apt term when it comes to describing this band’s sound. Not only does the band describe themselves on Bandcamp with the tags like “hardcore” and “sludge,” but their music sounds very much like a metalcore interpretation of High On Fire; Dan Dresser’s guitar has that impossibly heavy tone that only a musician like Matt Pike could dial up, and Ryan Campeau’s drum work reminds me so much of Des Kensel’s contributions to my favorite HoF album Death Is This Communion: full of speed and precision and incredibly catchy despite the technicality involved.

Comparing these guys to High On Fire, though, is a bit of a double-edged sword. One might go into Woe Monger’s demo expecting a HoF clone, and that’s a huge mistake to make. Is the influence there? Absolutely; there’s no escaping comparing those sludgy riffs to the best of what HoF can do. But WM works with the influence and interprets it into their own musical vision, combining it with some fantastic hardcore and making something that is altogether different. Chad Jones’s vocal work, while more gritty and generally keeping to a low register still very much keeps the attack of a metallic hardcore musician in mind, and the band as a whole brings a punk attitude to sludge songwriting, which means awesome riffage combined with a good sense of variance. “Palm Reader,” whose riffs have that undeniable bottom-heavy sludge tone and flair to them, still manage to evoke the sense of a beatdown hardcore album.

All in all, this is a great start for what will hopefully turn out to be a great band. If I have any complain about Woe Monger’s demo, it’s the production, which was apparently “recorded live off the floor” at the studio. Don’t get me wrong—the production isn’t bad, but it certainly muddies things up, and considering the level of songwriting the band employs, it might be worth it to look into multitrack recording in the future. Again, though, this is a minimal complaint, considering that this is a demo.