Wake is a Canadian grindcore act. One of those grindcore-acts that have taken care of me not growing tired of the genre. The unrelenting speed and anger are good fun, but can get a bit samey fast. This is where the great bands differentiate themselves from the mediocre ones: they know how to keep things interesting. Wake is one of those bands. Not only is this band making a point of writing actual songs, they also are branching out into different genres. That’s becoming more and more clear on Misery Rites.
Sowing The Seeds Of A Worthless Tomorrow, Wakes previous album saw the band incorporating sludge influences in their Nasum-styled grindcore. The fact that Misery Rites is recorded at Flatline Audio by Dave Otero who you may know from his work with Khemmis, Cobalt and Primitive Man might give you the idea that those sludge influences are not gone on this new record. And you would be right thinking that. First and foremost Wake is still a grindcore band. The fact that this record clocks in under half an hour is a testament to that, especially considering the closing track “Burial Ground” takes almost 8 minutes of that half an hour.
However, when I first pushed play and “Exhumatinon” started to terrorize the neighborhood I had to check whether I really was listening to Wake. “Exhumation” starts the album of as pure sludge. Guest vocals of Ethan McCarthy of Primitive Man and Vermin Womb fame didn’t help alleviating my confusion. By the start of the second track, the title track, my confusion was gone. The grindcore madness had begun.
The sludge influences are not gone, but are incorporated into the song-writing seamlessly from here on. As are further guest vocals of Ethan McCarthy. If you have ever listened to his work with Vermin Womb you’ll know he probable felt right at home in the fast and harsh environment Wake have created. Wake is doing an excellent job at keeping the songs interesting. Amidst the blasts on, for example, “Rot” or “Paradigm Lost” you’ll find some subtle (as far as grind allows subtlety) guitar work while on the latter the band changes from full out grind to sludge and back and make this sound logical. “Burial Ground” includes a dash of black metal to spice things up even more and somehow also this works out great.
The production of Misery Rites is heavy. Really heavy. It would have fitted a sludge band like a glove. I would expect a fast record, like this one, to become one big puddle of mud with a production like this, but this is absolutely not the case. A production this heavy with so much clarity gives Wake even more swag and it fits them.
Lyrically this album deals with a personal struggle with depression, addiction and isolation. Although I must admit it’s pretty hard to understand the vocals, you can feel the emotions expressed. With Misery Rites Wake have released their absolute best album to date. It’s only February, but this is already an album that will probably be on a lot of year lists. It should anyway!
9.0 / 10
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