Written by: Blackie Skulless
There’s a time for riffs, a time for intricacy, and a time for both. Wode have been around now for a little over a decade, reigning over Manchester, England with a stylistically intense brand of black metal. Recently, they dropped album number three, entitled Burn In Many Mirrors, through 20 Buck Spin. It cashes in on sturdy riffage with appropriate doses of later black metal tactics to make for one of the better polished albums of its type.
What’s nice is that despite this, Wode don’t feel the need to sink themselves in a pool of symphonies and atmosphere. Though the latter does play a bit of a role, it’s clear that strong hooks and transitions are the most important part. All six tracks come from a narrative standpoint, telling long, cosmic stories around the occult and world destruction. This leaves little room for extra nonsense, allowing everything to be straightforward within each phase of the songs.
That alone should tell you how advanced the songwriting on Burn In Many Mirrors is. There’s intensity through the roof in every track, with passages fitting the lyrical flow depending on mood (I recommend reading along as you listen for the proper experience). The blast-beats come in at perfect times, as do the tremolos without either of them overstaying their welcome. To the opposite end, hookier riffs blend in with the vocals flawlessly, and the cleanliness in execution just amazes me.
It’s a bit tough to discern what exactly the band were going for at times, but I think that’s part of the fun. With so much going on, this works for a feeling more than anything. There are some standout parts that jump high above the surface. “Vanish Beneath” comes super close to small pockets of groove to precede an explosive outro. “Serpent’s Coil” is definitely more reflective of the first wave of black metal because of its straightforwardness. Closer “Screams Of Rapture” is the complete opposite, being an epic landing in three parts. The suspense and flow here capitalizes the writing tactics the best, and “Fire In The Hills” is just a hellish attack doing a bit of foreshadowing.
Understand that this may sound overwhelming, and that’s because it is. Everything on here is executed pretty much perfectly, but do be warned that it takes a long time to truly soak in. It took me four listens to even be able to get this much of my thoughts together, and I’ll probably pick up even more as I go. Absolutely recommended for anyone who loves any kind of black metal, coming from a rookie within the genre.
Wode - Burn In Many Mirrors was released April 2nd, 2021 via 20 Buck Spin
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We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!