The Wake - Ode to My Misery
Spinefarm Records
Melodic Death Metal
10 songs (40:51)
Release year: 2003
The Wake, Spinefarm Records
Reviewed by Keegan

With the recent lack of originality in the melodic death metal scene, Finland has come through with several high quality bands that have added new sounds to metal, if not taken the genre to completely different places. But alas, for every Omnium Gatherum and Kalmah, there are bound to be some acts that are content to release cookie-cutter death metal records created from the Gothenburg formula. The Wake is one of these bands, but at least they do it well.

Despite their overall generic sound, The Wake manages to put together some highly enjoyable death metal songs on their debut, Ode to Misery. They hit all of the major musts for a Gothenburg-influenced band: speed, tons of guitar harmonies and solo, and a singer with quite a heavy growl. The album’s fist track, Murder One is very similar to newer Dark Tranquility, with slower blast beats and heavy palm muting over catchy melodic guitar lines. While the next few tracks are entertaining, it becomes obvious that while not suffering from any lack of skill, the band do need a lot of original personality. Songs such as Soul’s Encounter have been played time and time again by countless Gothenburg clones. Singer/bassist Kaj Michelsson even manages to pull off a pretty convincing Tomas Lingberg impression. Ode to Misery does however hold some moments of inspiration. Deep Silent Dead, while it could’ve been a bonus track from Reroute to Remain rocks, and drummer Wellu Helenius shows off some blistering double bass speed every once in a while. The record continues on for a total of 10 tracks that, for the most part are basically the same. Some are better, like The Neverending and Like a Fallen Angel, and some aren’t, such as Forever Nothing. However none differ much from the song before it and the album does drag after 5 or 6 songs. Regardless, The Wake successfully does exactly what they intended to: release an album of nothing but pure, unhindered, punishing melodic death metal, without the slightest hint of softness.

The album’s production, as is many times the case with debuts is questionable. While the drums sound fine, both lead and rhythm guitars lack power and sound over-compressed. Predictable, there’s virtually no audible bass on album. While many bands get away with this with super chunky and bassy guitar sounds, The Wake's guitar tone is too trebly to support the lack of bass. Much like the band, the sound of the album is totally straightforward and uninspired. Rather than adding to songs, the sterile sound of Ode to Misery takes away from the intended impact of the songs at times.

The Wake are a band who’ve managed to get along not only without bringing anything new to the table, but by using the same riffs you and I’ve heard a million times since Slaughter of the Soul. The band need to do a lot of soul-searching to find they’re own style before they’ll release something truly worthwhile. Hardcore fans of the Gothenburg sound, particularly the most recent releases from Dark Tranquility and In Flames would enjoy this, at least for a while. However, if you’d rather take a bullet in the face then hear another straightforward death metal song, stay away from The Wake.

Killing Songs :
Deep Silent Dead, The Neverending, Like a Fallen Angel
Keegan quoted 74 / 100
Jay quoted 81 / 100
Other albums by The Wake that we have reviewed:
The Wake - Death-a-Holic reviewed by Kayla and quoted 67 / 100
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