Album: Burn in Many Mirrors
Label: 20 Buck Spin
Genre: Blackened Death Metal
Country: United Kingdom
Release Date: April 2, 2021
For Fans Of: Dissection, Behemoth, Belphegor
Bursting on to the scene with 2016 self-titled album, Manchester’s Wode put the underground on notice with one of the best black metal debuts in recent memory. An album that proved that black metal could be simultaneously aggressive, melodic and atmospheric. Unsurprisingly, the debut landed on many year-end lists, and created anticipation for any subsequent releases. Luckily we didn’t have to wait very long and 2017 saw the band release their follow-up album, Servants of the Countercosmos. Stepping up the melodic elements, creating a new sense of atmosphere, and introducing elements of death metal. The album was an improvement on the sound that was showcased on the debut and it solidified the Wode as one of the best genre-blending bands metal has to offer. Four years later Wode are set to release their third album, Burn in Many Mirrors, on one of the metal undergrounds favorite labels, 20 Buck Spin. With anticipation high, both from the band and from anything released on the label, can Wode continue their hot streak, or will it come to a screeching halt.
From the moment the album opens two things become immediately clear. The band is just as aggressive as ever and blackened death metal is the name of the game this time around. The vocals are lower, the drums are more dynamic and the riffs could be right at home on any 90’s death metal favorite. In addition to the heightened emphasis on the death metal elements, Burn in Many Mirrors, is the bands most melodic album to date. Songs are designed to get stuck in your head, with dynamic structures that keep songs engaging, at no point does the album let up or fall into areas that drag. Burn in Many Mirrors is masterfully sequenced and songs flow in a way that makes the album feel like a complete piece as opposed to just a collection of songs. The musicianship is consistently preformed at the highest level and the band is able to craft music that stands toe to toe with the best extreme metal acts of all time.
This is the point where I would usually get into the bad parts of the album, but no matter how hard I tried, I wasn’t able to think of any. Honestly, this album is absolutely incredible. While this sound is one that been done before, it is being done in a way that is unique to the band. Blackened Death metal is a genre that is being done to death these days, but it rarely makes an impact for me, outside of a few bands I really love. When I first put the album on I was apprehensive due to a band I love leaning heavily into a sound that I’m not usually crazy about. Thankfully, Wode subverted all my expectations and crafted something that truly blew me away.
One thing that does bum me out is that the pandemic is going to keep the band from immediately touring this album. I think that this is the best album the band has put out, and with the signing to 20 Buck Spin, I think Wode could have been put in direct support on a big tour, putting much deserved eyes on the band. These are songs that could have really impressed live and helped to propel Wode into a higher level of popularity and success. Also, from a totally selfish perspective, I would love to see this album live.
Wode isn’t reinventing the wheel on Burn in Many Mirrors, but who cares, they are doing this sound with their signature style and doing better than anyone else at the moment. This is easily one of the best albums that I have reviewed thus far, and may be the most enjoyable one to listen to. Burn in Many Mirrors, is indicative of a band maturing and reaching levels of quality that many bands can only hope to achieve. The album met all expectations and has close to no flaws. I absolutely loved this and can’t wait to see what Wode do in the future.
Rating: 9.5 / 10
- Lunar Madness
- Serpent’s Coil
- Fire in the Hills
- Sulphuric Glow
- Vanish Beneath
- Streams of Rapture (I, II, III)
Total Playing Time: 39:09