Branching out beyond our world into something else, be that physical or mental, sure sounds like a great escape in order to help salve some wounds. We’ve beaten this horse corpse to death, but there is so much horror all around us, and so many people are suffering with psychological conditions that seem endless that taking a trip into a different plane can sound way too irresistible.
Canadian metal dreamers Wake dug deeply into that concept on their excellent sixth record “Thought Form Descent,” their first for genre giant Metal Blade. The album is a concept piece that follows a fictional protagonist who experiences a near-death experience and then comes to terms with wanting to be closer to that reality than the one presented in real life. Using concepts such as lucid dreaming, meditative states, and other metaphysical ideas, the character finds existence on two planes possible but unsustainable, with the end goal seeking to destroy both. It’s a heavy concept, but one that certainly is understandable and approachable. Along with this, the band—vocalist Kyle Ball, guitarists Arjun Gill and Rob LaChance, bassist Ryan Kennedy, drummer Josh Bueckert—also expanded its musical palette, still delivering the heaviness and brutality we’ve come to expect from the band but also adding new elements, dreamier sequences, more melody, and an uncompromising vision that males this fascinating the record the experience that it is.
“Infinite Inward” opens like a sound swarm as it thaws and pushes, the growls smashing the earth. The riffs attack as the atmosphere thickens, the vocals rip, and the playing spirals and tingles, rupturing and slaying as the pain trickles away. “Swallow the Light” mauls as spacious notes reverberate, then the guitars cut through the bone. Black metal-style shrieks take you down as hardcore trudging makes its presence known, scorching and ravaging as the melodies circulate. Light glimmers as calm dawns, the storming slightly returns, and the final jolts of punishment ring out in your ears. “Mourning Dirge (Repose of the Dead)” immediately weighs down on your chest as scathing howls burn and a proggy sequence increases the creativity. Muscles are mashed as the vocals hammer and the playing smothers with relentlessness, the frenetic pace shaking your skeletal structure and gazing into space. “Pareidolia” is a serene instrumental with clean guitars draining, flowing and lighting up the sky.
“Venerate (The Undoing of All)” bubbles to the surface and eventually unfolds, the glorious guitars increasing your serotonin levels. Then a massive death assault is mounted as the drama increases, and the growls crush amid heavy waves of power. A spurt of calm lets you breathe before the hammers drop again, the playing blackens, and the terror fades. “Observer to Master” ruptures as an unforgiving pace rips, the howls ravaging through the universe. Melodic gusts knocks you to the ground, the vocals melt bone, and the guitars beam, frying into your brain. The force loosens bricks from buildings as lava spills from the earth, stampeding before washing away. “Bleeding Eyes of the Watcher” slowly rumbles as the chaos enters and multiplies, the drums coming apart and destroying. A black metal spirit enters the fray as savagery bolts, and the madness floods, the gears smoking as the gears grind. Growls stretch as the playing tramples, slowly turning to ash in the fire. Closer “The Translation of Deaths” is an instrumental that soaks in noise and cloudy coldness, glistering and fading away into a place previously unknown.
Wake always have been one of the more interesting and challenging bands in heavy music, and what they pull off on “Thought Form Descent” makes that crystal clear as these eight thought-provoking and cataclysmic songs wash over you. While a record based on a fictional situation, itreally is something that most people can relate to as we try to work past our own shortcomings and find a way to maintain significance. This record can be a good means to that end, and it also provides an exciting, captivating collection that freshens everything you knew about heavy music.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/wakeyyc
To buy the album, go here: https://www.indiemerch.com/metalbladerecords
For more on the label, go here: https://www.metalblade.com/us/