Seriously, what is it about the UK and black metal recently? It’s like there’s something in the water there that’s making metal musicians kick some real ass. Last year we were given Barshasketh’s Ophidian Henosis, an album that has almost singlehandedly gotten me back into black metal, and if that’s not enough, this year we have Wode, a Manchester-based band that, like Barshasketh, brings their own incredibly interpretation of the black metal genre with just their self-titled debut.
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Wode is something evil; it’s an album born from the depths of the Necronomicon and Satanic Bible, full of very obvious influence from some of the great Scandinavian black metal bands of the 1990s. If you want tremolo picking and blast beats to oblivion, you’ve got them. If you want harsh vocals, you don’t need to go any farther than M. Czerwoniuk and T. Horrocks (who also plays drums, amazingly) shredding their throats for this album. It’s high-end black metal, but there’s even more to it than that. It’s obvious that good songwriting is at the forefront of the band’s goal.
Wode writes their music with an almost punk aesthetic in mind; it’s as if they’re aware how stagnant and repetitive black metal can become if played lazily, and try to cut the proverbial chaff from the wheat accordingly. Sometimes the blast beats dominate the scene, sometimes T. Horrocks varies and changes the perspective to focus in on how all the elements in the song work. The repetition in the album is low, and when it does happen to seriously repeated, it doesn’t feel like the band is bashing you over the head with it. At the same time, though, they don’t remove so much that there’s nothing left. It’s a healthy balance, full of well-done solos, and a guitar tone that, if I’m hearing it right, almost sounds a little crusty, like they were listening to Trap Them or something during the recording process.
Basically, this album kicks ass, shreds throats, and is absolutely merciless in its attack. Go check it out.