The Wake – Ode To My Misery

Originally written by Erik Thomas

You know McDonalds right? You know it’s processed, synthetic and blatantly disposable. But despite these facts, you enjoy a Big Mac, even though you’ve had hundreds of them? Well, The Wake is melodic death metal’s Big Mac. Superfluous, derivative, cookie cutter, by the numbers, unapologetically melodic death metal from Finland that does everything right, with no surprises whatsoever, but somehow satisfies.

Finland has seen some impressive melodic death metal recently with new entries Mors Principium Est, Omnium Gatherum, Elenium and the not so new Kalmah and Norther, however they each add a little something to the genre. Meanwhile, Sweden’s scene has floundered, but Finland’s The Wake don’t quite have anything as attention getting as their country mate peers, and I’d have to rank them slap bang in the middle of the international melo-death pack, along with Solar Dawn, Impedigon, Elysium and countless other In Flames/Dark Tranquility clones.

Everything on Ode to My Misery you’ve heard before – the bouncy riffs, the crisp and familiar Sundicoop/Finnvox production, the gruff/screamed vocals, the emotive solos and various paced delivery of dual guitars. The Wake are perfectly competent and sometimes entertaining, but every single moment on this album sounds recycled from other bands. So, truth be told, if you enjoy their obvious Swedish influences, you’ll probably enjoy this.

All being said, my toes tapped regularly, and my head bobbed frequently. While The Wake smartly avoid some of the genre’s gimmicks (acoustics, a full on ballad), the resultant nine tracks lack true identity or gusto that warrants really needing to own this album. “Murder One”, “Deep Silent Dead”, and “Befouled Galaxy”, all canter along amid slower, mid-paced tracks like “Darkness Mine” and “The Never Ending”, with mechanical predictability (almost by song title). And as the album ends with the best (but still familiar sounding) track, “Like a Fallen Angel”, you snap back into reality like you’ve been in a hypnotic state, remiss of any of the music that has assailed you over the last half an hour. But you feel strangely apathetic and mellow.

I like McDonalds, but I get sick of it after one too many Big Macs. The Wake is a band we could really do without, but do their thing competently and it’s mildly enjoyable, it’s just so….middle of the road and derivative, they are bound to get lost in the annals of metal with nothing more than a UPC code.

Posted by Old Guard

The retired elite of LastRites/MetalReview.

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