Calgary, Alberta’s WAKE are torchbearers of a specific dissonant, dark and experimental brand of grindcore that reminds of acts as diverse as Napalm Death, Brutal Truth, Discordance Axis and perhaps most of all, the late, great Nasum. It’s in the Nasum influence where this record, their third, truly shines. Channeling all the darkly melodic guitar lines and song structures they can, WAKE have crafted an album that not only does justice to the legacy of a fondly remembered, gone too soon extreme metal band, but carve a niche all their own in the grindcore genre.
All of the grindcore tropes are here. Super fast tempos, crunchy, punchy guitar tones, insane drumming, what have you. Despite checking all the boxes you need to say “Yup, this is a grindcore record”, WAKE have gone above and beyond to really define their sound, while still wearing their influences on their sleeves. Not that that’s a bad thing. Here, especially, you know what you’re getting, but the influences WAKE have mixed together are an interesting “who’s who” of grind, and the result is something very interesting indeed. A little Pig Destroyer, a little Discordance Axis, some Nasum… it’s all very seamless and well written. Changes and transitions into and out of the darkly atmospheric moments of clean-ish guitar to the furious grind sections are well executed and serve to break up the tracks and allow the listener a breather from the madness.
The production and mixing of Sowing The Seeds needs to be mentioned as well, because it’s a near perfect compromise between sounding gritty and dirty and everything being discernible in the mix. Recorded and mixed by Joel Grind (Toxic Holocaust) at Falcon Studios, the production doesn’t over emphasize any singe element, and the vocals are both clear and suitably dirty, something that many bands in the genre struggle with. The lyrics are well written, and it would be a shame to not be able to make them out. The guitar tone is grimy when it needs to be and punchy when a riff calls for it, and the mixing of the aforementioned interludes is wonderful, the clarity allowing the listener to hear all the different layers the band recorded.
Despite the obvious sources of inspiration, WAKE apply enough personal touches to their sound to stand above the glut of grind bands lacking any sense of individuality. The quieter moments, where rumbling, distorted chords shift and move underneath unsettling clean guitar passages, the frantic yet catchy riffing that’s perfectly moshable, the production and mixing…WAKE sound like their own band, not simply a local act overzealously channeling their heroes. The maturity in both songwriting and sound is evident. Perhaps the only real criticism that can be leveled at the album is that, at 20 minutes long, it’s a bit too short, ending rather abruptly and leaving the listener wanting even more. It’s a shame this band isn’t being talked about in the same breath as modern grind bands such as Torch Runner and Rotten Sound, because with Sowing The Seeds of A Worthless Tomorrow, WAKE have dispelled any notion that they’re unfit to be modern grind royalty.
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