Despite a certain lack of originality, Idylls of Woe has what it takes to be taken seriously, and the sound is efficiently diluted in a pool of dense and striking harmonies, whose diffusive savagery and proficient technique makes the group's style worthwhile listening.
After some songs, though, the sound of the band resents itself of some terribly generic, exasperating and repetitive features; you really have to be passionate about the genre to be willing to listen to the album until the end.
However, it is worth noting that the album has its qualities and virtues, though they may be frivolous to a limited extent. The fourth track — Riddle of Steel — is a marvelous and exceptionally good song, that not only defines perfectly the style of the band, but also showcases their most refined sonorous impetus, that on the edge of its dynamic ocean of abrasive restlessness, flirts a little with a modest degree of originality and authorial uneasiness. The sixth track, Now You Know, is also an incredibly fantastic song, whose lines closely follows the traditional path of a glorious anthem of old school classic hard rock.
With marvelous, but sparse, guitar solos — that probably is Dogbane's most attractive quality — and a competent set of melodies, Idylls of Woe is, at best, a good, satisfactory album. Its not bad, but its not great either. With too much generic passages, and an unfortunate lack of originality, the record manages to be interesting, but in any moment achieves a remarkable or relevant degree of excellence.