Review Summary: A new beginning
I accidentally stumbled upon this album yesterday when looking for something to fill my Sunday's COVID-19 confinement. Contrary to what one might think, extreme metal brings me some peace of mind these days, namely that which combines density and atmosphere such as Wake's Devouring Ruin
. From a more conventional grind signature, Wake has progressively evolved into a hybrid style that embeds both death and black metal. In a simplistic way, I would say the band enters the new decade combining the dissonant density of bands such as Ulcerate, Altarage or Noctambulist with grind fierceness and surrounding black metal atmosphere. When this kind of formula manages to balance all these ingredients well, it delivers a more comprehensive and challenging sound, and that's exactly what Devouring Ruin
offers. Songs like 'This Abyssal Plain' or 'Mouth of Abolition' are among those that explore this wider scope the most, by combining an Altarage-esque wall of sound with melodious textures. 'Mouth of Abolition' may even be considered the song that, alongside opener 'Dissolve and Release', moves further away from the band's past repertoire. By exploring these bold new territories, it is clear Wake doesn't want to repeat itself or engage into a creative loop. The colossal 'Torchbearer' with its doomy approach and closing track 'The Procession (Death March to Eternity)' are both good examples of this new metamorphosis. It's hard to picture the Blood Incantation-esque riff of the former or the epic ending of the latter on any of the band's previous releases. Although there's some kind of continuity, the leap is too evident to go unnoticed. Nevertheless, Wake doesn't erase their original ferocity, 'In the Lair of the Rat Kings' and 'Monuments to Impiety', both similar in style, are still overwhelming displays of power which should please early fans.
When a band takes a leap of this magnitude it is natural that it leaves someone behind, we will never be able to please everyone. Evolution involves risks, gains and losses, and not everyone will follow the band in this new chapter. But can we doom someone for seeking new horizons? Isn't that what makes us look forward? I'm glad I stumbled upon this yesterday. Not only did I get to meet a new player on extreme metal's board game, but also got to experience a new beginning, a new cycle, from a band that I will be following closely from now on.