5. WODE, ‘Burn in Many Mirrors’ (20 Buck Spin)

It’s been a devastating year for death metal, and that’s a good thing. You really want death metal to have a fun, vibrant year where everyone is happy? In this pandemic? At a time when we were at our mental worst, death metal was here to remind us things have been ugly all along, and UK crushers Wode were front and center.

Wode, who also incorporate black metal flourishes, always 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 returned to that formula with their third full-length “Burn in Many Mirrors,” their first since 2017 and initial offering through 20 Buck Spin. This record already was making seismic waves when 2021 still was relatively young, and it’s 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 that never, ever let up.

“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. “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. “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. It’s a wrecking document that paid off the promise Wode has shown from the start. (April 2)

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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