Wode
Servants of the Countercosmos
(Avantgarde Music)

When it comes to writing about metal, too often we have to come up with some grand reason why something is great: it moves a genre forward, it has particularly unique insight, or it’s more evil than thou. It’s a fun pursuit, but there’s another, more primal drive as to why so many of us scour the internet for the best metal around: damn good riffs. Thankfully, Wode deliver that in fucking spades on their exceptional sophomore release. Just a year after their furious debut, the UK-based band are back to showcase their astounding riffcraft and savagery.

Servants of the Countercosmos features quite a bit more diversity than the group’s self-titled debut. Most obvious, we have an incredibly efficient album (just over 30 minutes), which is fifty percent shorter than Wode. Songs here have a much greater variance in tempo and a larger focus on atmosphere, so the album feels much sharper and more focused in its short run-time. More notably, however, the three guitarists in the band have expanded their sonic horizons. Embracing more death and classic heavy metal influence (in addition to some Emperor, naturally), Wode’s expanded sonic arsenal leads to more enjoyable riffs. The formula here is pretty simple: keep it short, expand your palate, and put the damn pedal to the floor in terms of extremity. Thankfully, Wode execute this simple equation brilliantly, resulting in a record that is even more enjoyable in reality than theory. Wode have released one of the best black metal albums of 2017, and given how impressive a year it has been for the genre, that is high praise.

Purchase the album here.

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