It's pretty cool to see bands that we reviewed in the primordial instagram-bound days of the Sleeping Village's life releasing new music. One such group is WAKE, the Canadian extreme metal outfit responsible for one of the albums that became fodder for one of my earliest reviews. WAKE are coming back in a big way with their forthcoming LP Devouring Ruin, out March 27th from Translation Loss Records. While we drink deep of their latest offering, please accept this (admittedly dated) republication of our review of 2018's Misery Rites. Without further ado:
Despite short runtimes, listening to a grind/death/hardcore album from top-to-bottom is often an exhausting affair. Look, for example, to Mammoth Grinder’s (then-recent) latest, Cosmic Crypt. On paper & in practice every song sounded great, and there’s a reason for that. Essentially, every subsequent track on the album was a copy-paste of the (admittedly fantastic) one before. However, despite personally loving the Mammoth sound, it lost its charm too quickly without variance. It fell apart as an album, and as a self-avowed “album guy,” structural integrity of the vehicle in question is always taken into consideration. Conversely, Full of Hell’s Trumpeting Ecstasy is a good example of an album chock full o’ brutal music that maintains variety, and, as a result, is something I can (and will) return to without fear of listening fatigue.
This is all to say that Misery Rites is a death grind album doin’ it right. Besides hitting hard on a general level, every track feels individual & important to the whole picture, remaining relevant because it isn’t a replica of what came before. Changes in tempo are frequent, often multiple times throughout a track. At their fastest, "Wake" blisters flesh with frantic drums & shredding guitar, while their slowest thuds along a the sludgy crawl of "Womb." Vocal range also assists in keeping things fresh--Kyle Ball alternates often between a high rasp & the deep growl of a subterranean behemoth. Brief ambient passages littered throughout further adds to the individuality & prevents claustrophobia.
Take mid-album highlight "Paradigm Lost," which begins with a cacophony, sinks into a molasses swamp of sludgy riffage & deep howls, & emerges with manic speed only to end with atmospheric gurgles. That so much can fit into 4 minutes while maintaining a natural flow is respectable, not least because it takes guts to break from a song template that works.
Bottom line: these tracks don’t sound repetitive or overwrought... because they strive not to be. At 27 minutes, Misery Rites is definitely worth your hard-earned while.
WAKE - Misery Rites was released Feb. 2018 from Translation Loss Records.
As aforementioned, Devouring Ruin will be released March 27th, and can be preordered here.
Providing thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy, and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a groggy-eyed, highfalutin peasantry.