Wake has been lingering in the background of larger bands for a while, continually astonishing grind fiends. Coming from Calgary, Alberta, Canada in 2010, Wake has released something each year (save 2015); including three LPs, one EP, and three split EPs. From the first release, the 2010 LP, Leeches, I was hooked. Almost all have been on separate labels, including respected mainstays such as Sentient Ruin and Give Praise. Here on Misery Rites, Translation Loss (on an amazing streak) presents a blistering example of how grandiose yet compact and succinct grindcore can be. Wake deliver atmospheric haze over the tightly produced material. Wake decimates with speed but also taut precision; adding chaotic elements that all synergize to a punishing product.
Guitarist, Rob LeChance, spearheads the writing and Wake’s direction. When handing Misery Rites to production, the band decided to streamline by having the album recorded, mixed, and mastered with Dave Otero at Flatline Audio (Khemmis, Primitive Man, Cobalt). This process, and a larger vision, has added to this band’s impactful canon. While Wake has proven repeatedly that they can crank out the relentless hammering of grind/death with stunning results. On Misery Rites, however, Wake grasps at more. The opener, touting lyrics, “the cycle starts”, prepares the listener and Misery Rites maintains a ravaging atmosphere until the seven minute closer. Having played the album on repeat in succession many times, I can vouch for the intended cycle of pacing. In between, Wake plants a treacherous mid-section of slightly longer tracks (“Paradigm Lost” at 3:38; “Exiled”, 2:49p); as they plod and stew and fester. Even the shorter blast-driven tracks writhe in a much heavier, stagnating, burdensome and miserable miasma. This salient vibe lends to Misery Rite’s cohesion.
Song titles definitely follow (or implement) a chronological flow to the album. Adding to the lyrics mentioned, referencing the “Cycle”; the death related journey ushers the listener with: Exhumation, Misery Rites, Embers, Rot, Paradigm Lost, Exiled, Rumination, Bitter Winter, Burial Ground. “Burial Ground” lays Misery Rites to rest in two parts. First, Wake gives us a black metal scorcher that speeds through with tragic implications. Then, a climactic proclamation stands, with slow rhythms, for the final four minutes. Ball’s declarations of regret, “I never change” echoes and repeats. The audience is dragged down, descending into filth, blackened loathing and madness. Josh Bueckert’s dynamic control on his drums is impressive here.
The grandiose appeal of the production, the low tuning, and the apocalyptic mastery all add to aiming higher in songwriting and fucking nailing it. In about 26 minutes. 7/9 tracks are 1:30 to 2:30. Blastbeats and thunderous fills from Bueckert on drums carry this monstrous album to victorious heights. “Embers” has a cool 10 second reprieve with a looming angular guitar string twitching in the middle, but mostly the track bangs away. Penultimate track, “Bitter Winter”, which leads to the meandering, foggy final, ends its duration with a minute of mid-paced pounding. But let me not relay a slower Wake. This album rips and tears with hammering riffs from Arjun Gill and LaChance under Kyle Ball’s commanding vocals.
Playing in headphones for over a month, Misery Rites has not grown weary. The one-two punch of the title track and “Embers” tantalize each play. Even after two hours of consecutive plays. It is impossible to not think of recent Napalm Death with music, production, and vocal delivery, but that is some reverent praise! This brutal gauntlet of riffs and beatings, Misery Rites, should move Wake across the States and Canada to pulverize welcoming eardrums.
RIYL: Napalm Death (especially last 4), Rotten Sound, Nasum, Lock Up, Kill The Client, Implore