A hot button topic in metal is always when bands change their sound. Some don’t mind their favorite bands changing things up while others call them sellouts and fakes. I personally love to see bands evolve and put out music that they are happy with versus trying to please the masses. I myself have gotten displeased with a number of bands musical changes but I accept that if they are happy with what they are putting out, who am I to tell them that it isn’t good. That being said, a band that I discovered back in 2020 has changed things up over their career is Calgary, Alberta’s Wake. Wake was known in the underground prior to 2020’s Undoing Ruin LP as a grind band with black metal influences. Devouring Ruin saw them take their core sound and morph it into a more black/death sound. Not a bad change in my opinion. Their grind stuff is excellent as well, but this new sound was the band evolving into a five headed monster with an even more massive sound. Fast forward to now, we see the band offer up a new LP called Thought Form Descent. The new LP sees them hone their new style even more. “Infinite Inward” opens the LP and starts off with dissonant riffing from guitarists Rob and Arjun as bassist Ryan provides the low end to keep the riffs moving along. Vocalist Kyle comes in with his growls and drummer Josh blasts away on the kit, filling the spaces in the music at just the right moment while driving the song forward as well with blast beats. Lead single “Swallow the Light” starts off with some nice chugging riffs until launching into a full dissonant assault before Kyle comes in, howling like a deranged beast, ready to strike. When the chorus hits, we see a more post black style from the boys, with Kyle bringing in some highs over the dissonant riffs and blast beats as Ryan provides some backing vocals to add to the bleak and heavy atmosphere of the song. The song hits on all cylinders after the second chorus until a nice little guitar break to ease the tension. The track ramps back up before fading out for the next track. “Mourning Dirge (Repose of the Dead)” starts back into the post black style before shape shifting into a more dissonant death style. Really amazing transition by the band. The track slithers along before slowly bringing the post black style back in and mixing the two styles, with blast beats and super dissonant guitars. The track weaves and bends between slower and faster tempos, giving a listener a bit of a breather before being engulfed by the storm. “Pareidolia” gives us a break from the action as a nice, chill instrumental track. Always good to have a slight palate cleanse in between the heaviness. “Venerate (The Undoing of All)” starts off with a single guitar and while Josh beats away at the kit, slowly building the track before Kyle joins in with a single growl. The tempo increases as Kyle begins his assault on the listener with a mix of his growling and low barks. This track is much more calm. There is still plenty of dissonance and the blast beats but just sprinkled about. This is how Wake have grown in my mind. They know when to beat you over the head but also know when to show some restraint, letting their musicianship shine through. Always cool to see some contrast in an album. The next track “Observer to Master” is back to the ferocious blast beats and riffing, coming out of the gate hard and fast. The track slows a bit to let you catch your breath but only for a few seconds before the blast beats come back even faster. About half way in, Wake lets the light in with some soft guitars and rhythmic drumming as you can hear the pain and sorrow in Kyle’s voice before a hearty growl from the front man launches the music back into a dissonant hell, swallowing the listener whole. A solo leaps out of the mix at just the right time before the madness begins again. Masterclass song writing on this track. Next to last track “Bleeding Eyes of the Watcher” begins with Kyle bellowing from the void over some more doomy sounding riffs, with drums starting very slowly. This is the longest track of the album as well, clocking in at eight minutes and 43 seconds. Not a moment is wasted in the nearly nine minutes either. The band weaves back and forth between the doomy atmosphere and the dissonant blackened death throughout the track, knowing exactly the right moment to change from one to the other. Another prime example of this band’s growth. The final track is an ambient instrumental track, the perfect ending to an absolutely stellar offering from Wake. These guys are definitely heading in the right direction with their sound and I am here for it. I had the pleasure of seeing them live back in May and the new stuff they played sounds massive. Grab a copy of this album, you will not be disappointed!
- The Metal Architect