WAKE — Devouring Ruin (review)

WAKE — Devouring Ruin album cover Album · 2020 · Black Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
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Canadian act Wake first hit the metal scene in 2010 with the EP Surrounded by Human Filth, playing grindcore, a genre that they've stuck with through their first decade of existence. While their last album Misery Rites (2018) was noted by some for bringing a blackened approach they were still a grindcore band. So it might come as a surprise to some that their fifth and latest album Devouring Ruin (2020) has seen them pretty throw all their grindcore roots out of the window and have instead released their first actual black metal record.

Of course that's selling the sound of the release shorter than a lot of grindcore albums are. Wake didn't just go black metal, they've expanded their sound in a number of different directions, with everything from technical death metal to post-sludge being found on Devouring Ruin. The change in direction has also resulted in an album of greater quantity from Wake; in true grindcore fashion the longest any of their four prior albums latest for was just shy of twenty-seven minutes, while the four albums between them could only claim two tracks that broke three minutes. Here we have a much more substantial not quite forty-six minute album, complete with a song, Torchbearer, which breaks the ten minute barrier. Grindcore is of course a genre where the very idea seems to be to go in and get the point across as quickly as possible, but with the new sound Wake have been able to change their approach to song-writing and new ideas are given room to be expressed.

It's a powerful sounding record, only really ever letting up for a couple of shorter interlude style tracks (sorry to disappoint those who thought the short tracks would be grindcore numbers), which are oddly placed to either side of just one song (and not even the real long one) rather than more effectively break up the record. Wake's take on black metal has a rawer sound to the vocals of Kyle Ball, approaching more death metal style and avoiding the cold, necro roots of black metal, though the riffs themselves retain a black metal atmosphere throughout, with other genre details hidden in the album's subtleties. Listen casually as your own peril, for there's a lot to dig into and explore here.

Existing fans of Wake who were expecting them to continue on with the grindcore may be disappointed in the change in direction, but for me Devouring Ruin is the release that has put the band on the map. Of course I listen to a lot more black metal than I do grindcore (by which I mean none at all), but they certainly seem to be making more waves with the album since it's release than they did before, which can only be good for them. They're obviously a talented band, based on what Devouring Ruin has to offer, an album that reaffirms for me my love of the black metal genre and it's continual ability to produce such high calibre albums. I hope we'll get to hear more of this kind of thing from Wake.
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Tupan wrote:
39 days ago
It seems interesting. Let's take a listen.
Vim Fuego wrote:
41 days ago
I don't think many grindcore fans will be disappointed with this. The bits I've heard are heavy as fuck, and Wake always added a few other genre elements to their music anyway.

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