When talking about jam bands, the first band that should come across anyone’s mind is the Grateful Dead. Bands whose live performances are great thanks to the spontaneity of long jams between the bands that can make songs go sometimes as long as 20 minutes, maybe even longer. What Texas doom metal band Wo Fat try to do on their new album The Conjuring is capture these jams in studio album form.
Yes, the album is only five songs long and clocks in at a whopping 47:34. The first song on the album is the almost ten minute title track The Conjuring, and starts the album off on a good groove and takes over two and a half minutes for the singing to start, but at this point that doesn’t matter so much. The song itself is basic to standard doom metal tracks; very slow, keeps your head moving, and is very guitar driven, but with the song being nearly ten minutes and 75% of it being all instrumental, the singing is really irrelevant.
It’s the three shortest tracks on the album that you notice vocalist/guitarist Kent Stump’s voice more. To be clear, though these songs are the shortest on the album, the shortest of these three songs is still 6:28. Yes, 6:28 is the shortest time length of a song on the album. But with Read the Omens and Beggar’s Bargain, the length of the song doesn’t matter as much. The pace of both songs does help with that. The jams are a little more entertaining to listen to, they manage to get the adrenaline pumping a little more, and the vocal melodies are actually coherently good, even hooky at times – you can make out choruses – whereas the third of these three shorter songs, Pale Rider from the Ice, falls short compared to the other two. It’s funny, because the song features the most vocals heard throughout the album, but fails to be much more than just background music for when you’re moseying around on your computer.
Wo Fat go all out on the final track on The Conjuring. Dreamwalker is 17:11 – I’ve been given EPs by bands that are shorter than that – and if you guessed there isn’t much singing in the song, you’re right. The parts of the song that do feature singing are pretty good, I do like the lyrics, and the jam has its moments, but then trails off again in to background music while you accommodate yourself to doing other activities with the music playing.
To be clear, I enjoy the band and the musical aspects of their songs, and rest assured that my rating on this album is based on that. They aren’t the next big thing, but they have potential. It’s capturing these jams on album that doesn’t work for me. I would positively love to see a Wo Fat performance and watch these three gentlemen jam until the sun comes up because I’m sure I’d enjoy it. It’s no secret that seeing a band is a much different thrill than listening to a band on album. You can’t say I don’t enjoy jams; I’ve played with many musicians in front of others where we’ve ventured off in to long jam periods, it’s even more fun to play than to watch, but I’d never think recording them is a good idea. It’s just filled time that could be spent on other potentially promising doom metal songs that I’m sure Wo Fat is very capable of.
“Read the Omens” – The song that can keep a listeners attention all the way through. Its fast pace and great vocal parts make you forget that the song clocks in at 6:54, which is key for any long song.
6.5 (Out of 10)
|1||The Conjuring||Wo Fat||9:51|
|2||Read the Omens||Wo Fat||6:54|
|3||Pale Rider From the Ice||Wo Fat||7:12|
|4||Beggar’s Bargain||Wo Fat||6:27|