Certainly one of the more interesting bands on the Solitude Productions label. I have always thought The Howling Void would be an essential band in the doom scene if they could develop more of their own sound and I was hoping this would be the album to do that but it is not to be. This is still a very good funeral doom album but it sounds even more unoriginal as they have added more keys and in the process have ended up sounding like many other funeral doom bands. But of course originality is not everything and what they lack in that department, they more than make up for it in sheer, atmospheric epic doom works. If you are easily bored by long, slow songs that take their time in building then you might want to stay clear of this release. There are 4 songs that stretch this album out to about an hour and each of the tracks are repetitive and follow a similar pattern of adding layers of sound as they crawl along. The result is hypnotic but make sure you are sitting comfortably....this takes some patience to get through.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect to 'The Womb Beyond The World' is it is the work of one man and considering the vast layers of sound on the album, it is a remarkable effort. The music is rarely threatening, it is actually kind of beautiful for a funeral doom album. The guitar work is spacey in a Planet Caravanish kind of way but it still has its moments of crushing intensity. There is a big emphasis on keys that does diminish some of the more doomy qualities even though the guitar sound is deeply distorted. The vocals are deep growls but are not over-done but are nothing special either. Thankfully there are real drums and not the usual one-man band drum machine and the production is of a high standard. There is no real standout track out of the four, they all have equal strengths and weaknesses.
Funeral doom is usually about as bleak and depressing as doom gets but 'The Womb Beyond The World' is surprisingly hopeful and positive. Fans of classic funeral doom a-la Shape of Despair will dig this just as fans of more obscure acts like Ea will. It is rather predictable, even by funeral doom standards which is predictable at the best of times anyway but this is a way above-average release that will satisfy funeral doom and death-doom fans alike........8.5/10.
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