May 23, 2017

Wode - Servants of the Countercosmos

By Justin C. I know a lot of people were excited about Wode's self-titled album from just over a year ago, but it took me a little while to warm up to it. It seems strange to me looking back, because as Andy Synn wrote over on No Clean Singing
By Justin C.

Cover Painting by Mitchell Nolte.

I know a lot of people were excited about Wode's self-titled album from just over a year ago, but it took me a little while to warm up to it. It seems strange to me looking back, because as Andy Synn wrote over on No Clean Singing, Wode is "purely and unashamedly 'Black Metal' in nature – unsullied by time or trend, with no prefixes, suffixes, addendums..." If there's one metal subgenre that I'm the most accepting of (and I think we all have that one), it's black metal. Maybe I overlooked it because of its pureness. Maybe at that time I wanted something weird, with 13-minute-long songs with hurdy-gurdies and lyrics sung in a dead language. Who knows? But I've finally been sucked in by their no-nonsense charms.

With their new album, Servants of the Countercosmos, Wode hasn't broken into any new territories. This is still a band that plays straight-up black metal with just a hint of traditional heavy metal sensibility mixed in. The vocals are still a very satisfying rasp--satisfying in the same way that scratching an itch that you've been trying to ignore for two hours. The riffs are plentiful and memorable--the raging rumble punctuated with doomy melodicism that opens "Temple Internent" is a personal favorite, and there are plenty more where that came from.

What Wode has done with this new album is a slight refinement, and I think it's for the better. Most of the tracks on their new album run in the four-to-six-minute range, which I think suits their sound much better than the eight- and nine-minute tracks from their self-titled. I know that, even though I enjoyed the riffs in the last two tracks of the album, the album suffered a bit from being drawn out at the end. Even in the one case where they do go long on the new album, "Chaosspell," they've gone for a more refined structure that holds your interest over the track's length, leading very nicely into the acoustic "decompression" track that closes the album. Sometimes that kind of track can end up being an annoying non-entity, but this is one is subtle, delicate piece I'd feel comfortable playing in front of a classical guitar crowd.

Trying to find the balance between pushing forward while retaining what made you good in the first place is difficult at best, but I think Wode has done it here. If you liked their last one, they've given more of what they did so well, but at the same time they've tweaked the formula ever-so-slightly, but still to great effect.

Tagged with 2017, black metal, free download, Justin C, Wode
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