Like many black metal acts, Philadelphia’s Woe got its start as a one-man recording outfit before transforming, with some bumps and bruises, into a touring quartet.

Along the way they’ve garnered a reputation as one of the most refreshing second-wave U.S. black metal bands, starting with the deceptively named ‘Quietly, Undramatically’ in 2010.Having just released the blistering ‘Withdrawal’ in April, they embarked on a North American tour, including a stop at Mavericks, a brick box with a bar that hosts many of the metal acts passing through town.

For openers, a trio of local acts were selected, starting with Stay Here. Behind the anonymous name lurks an act with ties to Ottawa hardcore acts and a fondness for shoegaze and sludge. An admitted fondness for Godflesh and Jesu definitely shows through in the steady drums thunder and fuzzy drone.

Occult Burial take a more direct, traditional approach to their black metal, thrashing about on stage in their bullet belts and long hair in a style that would have been familiar to a metalhead from 20 years ago. Covers of classic acts NME (‘Black Knight’) and Bathory (‘Necromansy’) also featured in their set.

Alaskan have long reigned as one of Ottawa’s heaviest acts, and their post-metal crunch was particularly tight and deafening, a remarkable display of both precision and high volume.

Woe tore through their own set with punishing vigour. Some of the more subtle features of the band’s recorded work was pushed aside as frontman Chris Grigg croaked through the band’s tributes to apocalyptic depression and doom. Drummer Shawn Eldridge’s crash cymbal had sported a crack as the set began, and by the time it was over a sizable chunk had snapped off. Second guitarist Ben Brand and Grigg set about their instruments with a fury, and bassist Grzesiek Czapla contributed a certain wild man vibe and his own throaty vocals.

The audience didn’t get up to the critical mass needed for moshing (a show by Coliseum upstairs at Cafe DeKcuf undoubtedly drew off some of the audience), but there were several dozen happy headbangers by night’s end.

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