PICK OF THE WEEK: Wode demolish senses, challenge expectations on sinewy ‘Burn in Many Mirrors’

Photo by Phillip James Torriero

There are those records that, from the first time you hear them, you know they’re going to be with you for the long haul and not just absorbed and forgotten about a few weeks later. Those are the ones that keep coming back, sticking in your side, forcing you to go back repeatedly to either experience it again or to explore the terrain all over for things you missed before.

UK-based black metal/death metal hybrid Wode always has created music that destroys and refuses to let go, but it’s not just a heap of brutality. The band always has woven in melody, imagination, and fury into their formula, making it a more well-rounded attack than many other bands in their stratosphere. Wode have returned with their third full-length “Burn in Many Mirrors,” their first since 2017 and initial offering through 20 Buck Spin. This record already is one of the most noteworthy of young 2021, an album you should go out of your way to hear, especially if you bask in the dark arts and need some serious stimulation. The band—vocalist/guitarist/synth player M. Czerwoniuk, guitarist/backing vocalist D. Shaw, bassist E. Troup, drummer/guitarist/synth player T. Horrocks—delivers a mammoth display over 6 tracks and 39 minutes on an album that should push other black and death metal bands to up their game and listeners something in which they truly can sink their teeth.

“Lunar Madness” kicks off with a burst of violence and melody as the riffs race, and the playing explodes. The guitars just hammer away as Czerwoniuk’s growls get under your skin and ravage you, with the leads welling and swimming. The growls pummel as the song speeds up, rage pours out of every seam, and the track comes to a smothering end. “Serpent’s Coil” delivers strong riffs designed to clobber as the vocals scorch, and great leads drive the way. Again, the band jerks you around with relentless dips and meaty muscle, thrashing hard as the vocals feel corrosive, the leads shoot fire, and your veins are filled with poison and pain. “Fire in the Hills” has blazes crackling as the song starts while guitars dive into the scene, and then the open charging feels like it blasts right over you. Warbled vocals mix with the fiery growls, engulfing you in flames you try to battle through. The tempo continues to destroy as Czerwoniuk cries, “We are everything and nothing at all,” and the madness ends in a pile of smoldering cinders.

“Sulphuric Glow” crushes from the start as the guitars begin to stir, and the leads dare you to unleash yourself and take the journey with them. Classic metallic riffs act as a spine while a thrashing assault takes over your body, mashing you all over before coming to a merciful, albeit mangling, end. “Vanish Beneath” rumbles as the guitars stretch, and riffs chew into muscle. Throaty growls and dark visions clash as the playing opens its massive jaws and tries to swallow you whole as melody builds up and clouds your vision. The guitars then go off, speeding recklessly as wild howls punish, and the track comes to a spine-torching finish. “Streams of Rapture (I,II,III)” ends the album, a 9:54-long triptych that starts with eerie keys floating and the drumming awakening before the track explodes. Everything is vicious and unforgiving as trudging power leaves bruises, and the growls gurgle. The intensity rounds back as a fiery, yet channeled attack is mounted, and the leads just take over. The soloing expands and bursts, every element works to land their final strikes, and everything comes to a cataclysmic end.

It’s been a good while since we heard from Wode, but “Burn in Many Mirrors” made that wait worth it as it’s another stellar display of their black and death metal stew that’s always thick and hearty. This long has been a band that has been unsatisfied with status quo when it comes to their chosen sound, and they absolutely take you apart with these six tracks. More people are going to be smartened up to Wode simply through their association with 20 Buck Spin, and that’s an introduction that’s going to absolutely pummel some people who had been lulled to sleep the past few years who are about to wake up violently.    

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/Wodecult

To buy the album, go here: https://www.20buckspin.com/wode

For more on the label, go here: https://www.20buckspin.com/

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