If you don’t know, it’s been cold as fuck in the prairie provinces of Canada for some time now. WAKE happen to be one of the multiple awesome grind bands that dot those (currently) frozen plains, hailing from Calgary where they created and unleashed through the bitter cold their harsh new record FALSE.
I’ve been circling back to this one steadily and it’s nearly risen to the top amongst a few others in this great year for grinding. Tight, diverse, ardent, and heavy FALSE is a direct injection of fantastic grind into the brain that is unquestionably worth your time — and in this case its a mean trip at twenty minutes even.
In fact these guys have been busy recently: releasing a split 7″ with Saskatoon’s Rehashed on Give Praise Records and contributing a wicked grind nugget to the second/third Monomaniac compilation (of which a review is forthcoming). Following their debut they worked once again with members of Dephosphorus on another split 7″.
FALSE shows further refinement in writing (both length and style) while experimenting a little more, while the passion from Leeches onward has not faltered. Overall it’s a serious compliment on their growth even from their split with Dephosphorus as this four piece have tied things up here. Another change on this record is sparse and well placed dissonance.
In terms of their general approach WAKE differentiate from other Canadian grind quite well outside of not having hardly any pv show up in their material. It feels like Scandanavian grind with a bit of Cursed attitude that collides amongst some very successful exploration.
I’m not sure that this is where their influence lies as it seems most Canadian grind acts are sparked by U.S. contributors, but there is that suffocating style here that Gadget, Rotten Sound, Nasum, Mumakill, etc. all do so well here in various songs.
They focus lyrically in familiar ground however: topics of addiction, consumerism and superficiality, perpetuation of falsities and ignorance — all wrapped nicely in rhyme schemes and a poisonous death rattle from the lead singer. The bassist makes it out alive in most songs but some there’s more room to breath, while the guitars slice through almost anything.
A good example of the angularity comes with the first song ‘Filth Addict’, ghosting in the intro and exploding at two other points followed immediately by a frothing grind and then a slower, gripping rhythm before the turmoil is capped with at growing dissonant, chaotic ebb.
The heaps of scratch on FALSE‘s production greatly increases the caustic core of the songs. Scraping black tremolos, lots of feedback/droney space endings (‘Rotten’ plays with this for a full minute), thick bass in the mix, with the rich and busy drums right square in the middle.
Things pick up intensity becoming increasingly captivating by the time ‘Smoulder’ drops in, and afterwards there continues to be small surprises. ‘Smolder’ is a top track: a 53 second monster with some wicked jumpy riffs that quickly turn into blender of slow dissonant riffs over and lone drums blasting. The last few tattered moments are quite strong and interlock with the maniacal ‘Mouthbreeder’, another frenzied, descending grind collapse that leans on the dark end.
‘Foster’ however brings things back to a single, more regular track with it’s punk galloping. Definitely not to a detriment because everything you’ll be trampled by is hefty and fast. The next one ‘Vacant’ is the longest song on side A. Darkened tremolo flailing speeds into a tasty lead rhythm that gets built on nicely over the last minute, punched up repeatedly by the tremendous drumming.
‘Bleak’ is probably my favorite after the opener. Right from the beginning it pulls together great use of harmonics and chunky blows from all instruments for a crushing intro, exploding into a frenzied attack after. The changing rhythm at the end strech before that last tremolo tear is hypnotic. It’s a perfect length with strong impact from the beginning.
‘Ominus’ is another good example of WAKE‘s expanded ability to switch shit up with great success. After the dark and angular erosionin the beginning this song very briefly dips into YAITW territory in the midst of it’s two minute journey. Their use of it comes with a stronger low-end contribution and subsequent heavier breakdown with the end of it all being particularly crushing.
‘The Fix Is In’ is a hugely catchy track with an underlying darkness, definitely coming closer to Baptists and Converge for the intro. However after the first minute and a half the rolling percussion signals a much different direction: eerie, drum-centric with sporadic power chord bends and palm mutes, feeling like a slow crumble or descent. It doesn’t drag out.
‘Presbyopia’ is another addictive song that shows it’s hard to choose a favorite on FALSE: Straight forward and aggressive with several core and engrossing, climbing heavy sections right in the center; these are especially hypnotizing.
The finale ‘Intrusion’ brings out a more melodic degree of their sound in the second act with the bass playing an integral part as it climbs along side the bright melody and rough yells. The first half is desperate and aggressive, incessant thrashing punctuated by a few slams and switch ups in place, bringing you to a point that will entrance.
This one has stood all year for me, growing on me. A precise strike of teeming and highly recommended grindcore.
FALSE was co-released on vinyl through the awesome 7 Degrees Records and Handshake Inc., while the CD version was released though the also great label Give Praise Records. A heavy 180 gram, 45″ rpm black slice of wax with some killer gatefold artwork and lyrics housing it (photos above). Graphics for the gatefold interior look excellent with filth laden words.