Canada’s Wake Deliver Backbreaking Sludgy Metal Chaos On Crushing New LP

The Calgary-based metal group Wake are back with a vengeance. Their new album Devouring Ruin feels like a violently suffocating and often rapidly shifting and reforming haze of blast beats, snaking drum rhythms, and laceratingly intense guitar blasts. The mix feels so vitriolic and soaked in venom that it might as well be the sonic expression of a barely held together cage containing some kind of actually vicious beast — and thanks to the expansions that Wake deliver on their latest album to their long-running grind sound, that torrential experience feels even fuller.

Thanks to the devastating crush unifying the more grinding and more sludgy parts, listening to Devouring Ruin feels a bit like cowering and crouching under the weight of self-wrought destruction, like you’re the one who opened the gate and let out that beast, to continue on with the metaphor. The sonic beastliness never lets up for a moment.

The album’s somewhat truncated but still powerful opening track packs fierce, bellowing riffs with a wide swath like huge blades sliding back and forth and taking out anything in the way, and these guitar lines with the viciousness of a buzz saw and the methodical attack patterns of a sledgehammer feel like a clarion call behind the blasting grind that kicks off on track two, “Kana Tevoro (Kania! Kania!).” Although there’s a helluva lot of energy on this album and Wake pretty consistently return to a core of frenzied grind, the group’s performances always sound pretty methodical and precise, which, in practice, amplifies the tension. The group is delivering a steady stream of hits one after the other, building on one another and growing the crater — which is actually nodded to by the quite fitting lyrics, like the tale on “This Abyssal Plain” of a “desolate place where nothing resides.” That place’s mood gets perfectly translated to the music.

Tracks including “Mouth of Abolition” and the pretty lengthy, post-metal-esque soundscape-sporting “Torchbearer” feature big, booming riffs that reverberate like waves across a dismally muck-ridden pond. There’s a lot of deeply reverberating resonance in the thick, beastly sound. The epic, sweeping, monstrous metal sound that Wake have developed quite fully on Devouring Ruin keeps the whole menacing mix upward and forward, like the musical equivalent of steamrolling over a forest.

5/5 Stars

Check out some of the music below! Devouring Ruin drops on March 27 via Translation Loss Records. Nab preorders at this link.